Potatoes

Asiago Mashed Potatoes

Posted in Potatoes, Vegetables on November 4th, 2011 by admin – 2 Comments

Okay here’s my sob story… First I know I’m going to lose a lot of sympathy when I say I hadn’t been to the dentist in over ten years. But I did go to the dentist and then my teeth started falling apart. I’m guessing they cleaned off all of the gunk I needed to keep holding them together. So with a painful broken tooth (which later stopped hurting more mysteriously than it started) I left the coffee shop early and looked ahead to a weekend eating mashed potatoes.

However, tragedy, I had no potatoes at home and for the same reasons I left the coffee shop early (er, mainly intense pain) I didn’t feel like grocery shopping on the way home. However, luck, I was parked right outside of a little organic grocery store that I’d never noticed before, ten minutes before closing, and acquired a bag of mini gold potatoes.

For reference, those are about 5 curious pink cat noses wide.

(I lie, I totally guessed that number.)

‘But I don’t want to search for some new mashed potato recipe,’ I whined to myself, ‘I just want plain old mashed potatoes.’ (Plain Old Mashed Potatoes, for the record, is garlic and sour cream with bacon bits on top) So I’ll write about when I tried to make asiago mashed potatoes instead.

Oh there’s that word ‘tried’ again. But it was good, I promise.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (I like Yukon Gold)

Me too!

  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1 scallions, thinly sliced

I could start my own personal stock photography collection of things like ‘cut potatoes’.

Directions:

  • Cook potatoes in boiling wate….

Okay we already know this part. Cook, mash, etc. Actually no etc., that comes next.

  • Add the warmed milk, sour cream, butter, salt, white pepper, and garlic, mixing well
  • Sprinkle in the shredded cheese and scallions, stirring until cheese starts to melt and incorporate.

Somewhere in here is where the “tried” happened…

It seemed like a lot of milk but I trusted the recipe and got a pot of potato slush. So I turned to what I call the Unhelpful Internet. How to fix runny mashed potatoes? “Don’t add to much milk.” Right… I’ll get right in my cooking time machine and add less milk.

Other suggestions were to add more potatoes (which I would have figured out on my own if I had more potatoes to cook) and to add instant mashed potato flakes – something I consider potato blasphemy, but I might have to start keeping on hand because I’ve seen them as an emergency fix for a number of cooking problems.

The best suggestion I found was also the one I was already doing, leaving it on the stove to try to boil it down.

It’s not a mashed masterpiece, but I’ll still take it over instant.

Anyway looking at the recipe again I realize what the problem is – I had scaled down the 6 servings to 3, and the recipe recalculated the 3/4 cup of milk to be… 1/2 cup. Some faulty math but the original recipe is still good. Whoever wrote the code though, I know no one wants to figure out 3/8 of a cup (that’s 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons) but there’s no excuse for recipe-ruining rounding.

Parsley potatoes

Posted in Potatoes on April 18th, 2011 by admin – 2 Comments

People who read my blog often tell me, “You eat a lot of fish.”

And what they mean is, “You write a lot about fish.”

Both are true – I love fish so I cook it often and therefore have plenty to write about. (Actually every time we go to a decently fancy restaurant Andrew will open the menu and say, “I know what you’re ordering” as soon as he sees the salmon.)

I’m afraid next there’s going to be comments on my frequency of mashed potatoes, so I’m sitting here thinking, ‘Do you really want to write yet another mashed potato post? Right after a fish and potatoes post even?’ ‘Yes, yes you do,’ I tell myself, ‘because that’s one more recipe tab that can be bookmarked and put away when it’s done.’

This was just another boring, everyday, I-have-too-many-of-this-ingredient-to-use-up recipe search, in this case parsley, hence Parsley Potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds new red potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

I turned out to have exactly the one and a half pound of potatoes, mixed red and Yukon, also on their last days and needing to be used up or thrown out.

Directions:

  • Peel a strip of skin from around the center of each potato, place the potatoes in cold water. Set aside.

I honestly have no idea what this part is about…

I also realized this isn’t actually a mashed potato recipe, which is what I had my heart set on that night, but mashed potatoes are the scrambled eggs of potatoes. You practically have to go out of your way not to make them.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until tender. Pour in broth and 3/4 cup of the parsley; mix well. Bring to a boil.

  • Place the potatoes into a large pot full of salted water. Bring the water to a boil; then reduce heat. Simmer covered, for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Well I know how to make mashed potatoes so I pretty much ignored the recipe from this point on… but why were we supposed set them aside in cold water first in the original recipe?

They’re kind of pretty with their mixed colors, so I’ll pretend it was intentional. I had to go ahead and peel these since they were so far on the sprouty, rough-skinned side. Once they were cooked I mashed the whole deal together.

Actually it used up a lot less parsley than I was hoping. Parsley is a “fluffy” herb when fresh and a cup isn’t as much as it seems.

Yes that is my mango-sake sauce in the background, this time on halibut. I did say I’d be making it again as soon as I bought more sake, which turned out to be the next day. I’ll probably keep going until I’ve tried mango-sake sauce on every type of white fish I can find.

Pesto mashed potatoes

Posted in Garden, Pesto, Potatoes, Vegetables on March 3rd, 2011 by admin – 3 Comments

Pesto night came upon us again and this time I was able to take a picture of the aftermath.

For some reason when I get an idea, I have to Google it to validate it… and then become disappointed that I’m not the first to think of it. Things like ‘I wonder if you can make pesto mashed potatoes.’

Yes you can, and it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect, doesn’t need a recipe. I certainly didn’t follow Rachel Ray’s recipe, which explicitly says “1 cup prepared store bought pesto”. (Andrew says she doesn’t cook, she assembles things.)

Coincidentally I did use the red potatoes in her recipe.

I almost feel like this should be saved for a token St. Patrick’s Day post because this looks like such the typical “let’s take a normal food and turn it green for the holiday”.

I didn’t do anything special except add a bit of milk to make it mash easier so it tastes… exactly like pesto and mashed potatoes would taste, if they happened to be mixed together, instead of sitting next to each other. Nothing special, but not bad if you really need a new idea for all that pesto.

Open-faced breakfast burrito

Posted in Breakfast, Eggs, Potatoes on February 20th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I kept wandering around the kitchen complaining to myself that there was nothing to eat since we were due for a grocery shopping trip. Of course “nothing” doesn’t mean nothing but I didn’t want more pasta, more toast, more cereal, more noodles… “But you know better now,” I told myself, “You should be able to MacGyver a meal out of this kitchen.”

My starting point ended up being a package of roasted garlic chicken sausage that I originally picked up for some future chicken gumbo but have no immediate plans to make. I’m not normally a sausage person (same issue I have with bacon, the visible fattiness and texture) but chicken sausage is relatively safe and if you add garlic to the description I’m sold.

I started by dicing one of my little Yukon potatoes into little pieces (not trusting how easily potatoes would cook in a pan, I wanted them small) and started frying in a bit of olive oil. While those were cooking I also chopped up a bit of onion and added to the pan when the potatoes were about halfway cooked. Then at the end, some chopped garlic, so it wouldn’t overcook.

This was set aside and then in the same pan, I scrambled an egg with the chicken sausage, also cut into small pieces.

Gotta admit that looks kinda gross… eggs are pretty freaky if you think about them too much.

Then I mixed everything back in the pan and added some shredded Mexican cheese mix.

Andrew had moved the tortillas to the other side of the counter, so for a minute I was afraid I was ultimately making myself a big bowl of breakfast “burrito” mix. Determined now to keep this a one-pan recipe, I tried to slide the tortilla underneath to be simultaneously warmed and assembled.

At this point it didn’t look like it was going to be willing to roll up for me in anyway so I scooped it onto a plate using two spatulas and ate with a fork. Andrew called it a “breakfast tostada” but I already had my name picked out, and a very messy pan.

Chef Studboy’s Potato Leek Soup

Posted in Potatoes, Soup on February 10th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I had what will probably be the highlight of my blogging career a while back, when an actual chef looked at my site and then gave me a recipe off of my wishlist from out of his head.

Chef Studboy:

Yes he’s a chef in real life too.

Like most recipes I meant to cut this one in half, although it didn’t work out that way in the end.

about 2 cups of Mirepoix (carrots, celery, onion diced)

Interesting, there’s a word for that stuff.

and about 4 cups of leeks, this will be a decent sized batch

Having never cooked with leeks before, I didn’t know if you were supposed to use the whole thing, or just the white or green. Consensus on the internet was the white part, or one that made the most sense to me, the white and pale green.

Some warnings for others who haven’t used leeks before:

1. You’d think those huge things would be plenty but when cutting off the leaves I only got a little over a cup out of each one.

2. They’re quite dirty inside. Understandable for something that grows in the dirt, but make sure to wash each layer carefully.

3. It’s hard to spin a leek if you don’t have cartoon hands.

sear off some bacon, and set it aside. chop it up when it’s dried and cooled, and save the grease
cook off the mirepoix and 2 cups of the leeks in the grease, until it’s all clear

At this point we talked about bacon for a bit. I’m probably the only non-vegetarian who shies away from bacon – I like the taste but I can’t deal with the visible fat. So he came up with the idea to add the bacon before the soup was blended, to keep the flavor, and skip the grease part.

Following the potato soup recipe, I cooked the veggies in some melted butter instead.

then, add about a quart of chicken stock
cook off about 8 potatoes in that mixture, until the potatoes are done
also, cook off a few potatoes on the side in water and save them

I’m pretty sure my proportions got thrown off even more at this point. I thought I had more than enough leeks and potatoes when I started, and this could have been doubled easily.

once the potatoes are cooked in the stock, completely blend everything
turn it into all liquid

When I first planned recipes like this I didn’t have an actual blender, so I intended to use my smoothie maker to do it in batches and then hope someone would feel sorry for my patheticness and buy me one for Christmas. When I found out I was getting the immersion blender as a gift I just put it off until I could use the real thing instead.

Action shot!

then, add the chopped bacon and dice up the cooked potatoes
finally, sautee the remaining leeks in a little garlic, then add all of that to the pot
the potatoes in the stock will thicken the soup naturally
and voila, Potato Leek soup

The first problem is it’s been so long since I had that amazing potato leek soup that made me want to learn to begin with, I forgot what it’s supposed to taste like. Or look like – orange? My soup was rather orange.

The second problem was a lack of solids. I should have had more potatoes, and cut the pieces into smaller pieces instead of pretending I was making mashed potatoes since that seems to be what I know how to do best.

However,

you can add cream to it as well if you like, if it’s too thick, or you want a smoother soup
actually, with the numbers I gave you I would add a bit of cream, maybe 2 cups

“A bit” and “2 cups” seem like pretty drastically different amounts to me but I went and added somewhere between “a bit” and a cup. The cream really made it.. well, good, but I hate to think how much I killed the illusion of this being a healthy soup.

Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Posted in Potatoes, Vegetables on January 17th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

I love mashed potatoes.

Garlic mashed potatoes

Wasabi mashed potatoes

Pretty much any prefix you can add to mashed potatoes, even blue cheese mashed potatoes. And apparently I’m not the only one who had the thought, ‘I’m in the mood for blue cheese… and I have some potatoes to use up,’ since there was a recipe out there for me.

I scaled it down to one serving so my proportions might look a little weird compared to the original:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion, diced

I’ve never had red onion on hand but I’ve used both everyday yellow onion and shallots. Both came out great.

  • 2/3 garlic cloves, minced

Definitely up that to a clove or two.

  • 1/4 cup vermouth or 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano or parsley)
  • 1/16 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/8 lb blue cheese
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes

I’m not even sure how to convert 1/8 lb of cheese and that sounds like a lot so I just use an amount that looks right.

Directions:

  • 1 In a large pan heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions, and garlic stirring all the while cooking about 4 minutes.
  • Deglaze the pan with vermouth.

I used the white wine. There’s something very satisfying about pouring wine into a sizzling pan… it feels like real cooking.

  • Add salt, pepper flakes, herbs, and nutmeg.
  • Add milk and 1/2 pound blue cheese cook till melted.
  • Add potatoes and mix together.

Yukon gold as always. Looks a little ugly, at least if you expect your mashed potatoes to be white and fluffy, but I’m hooked. I never would have thought of onions in mashed potatoes but I’m loving this combo.

The most indulgent mashed potatoes ever

Posted in Potatoes, Vegetables on January 4th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

The day after making seared tuna with wasabi-butter sauce, I had a bowl of butter sauce left over but sadly no more tuna. Not wanting it to go to waste, I searched the kitchen for an idea. I know when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, but when you have a bowl of butter sauce…

The answer was mashed potatoes! This one also most definitely does not fall under the category of healthy. In fact, while mashed potatoes can be made healthier (use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream), I think anything done to make them be considered healthy would also make them not worth eating.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes

Russets are the iceberg lettuce of potatoes. I only use Yukon Gold, or red potatoes when I want some color.

Wash the potatoes well and cut out any eyes/bad spots, and then cut into small pieces with the skin on. I like to “score” the skin lightly with a knife on any solid piece so it will mash up easier.

  • Garlic

Mashed potatoes should always come with the qualifier “garlic”. Peel a few cloves proportional to the amount of potato. There can never be too much garlic, until you end up with more garlic than potato, at which point it becomes mashed garlic with potatoes. I’ll have to make a note to try that.

Put the potatoes and garlic (I usually cut the cloves in half or thirds first) into a pot and cover with water. Boil until soft.

This is my favorite mashed potato pot. Despite our nice set of pots and pans we received as a wedding gift, I’m still attached to some of my old cookware. I picked this one up at a thrift store I don’t even remember how long ago, and it holds up to the masher I wouldn’t want to risk scratching our good pots with, as well as the occasional absentminded mishap.

Now if you were to accidentally let the water boil away and rescue the potatoes right as they perfectly browned, you would end up with mashed potatoes that taste exactly like a baked potato. You can guess how I know this. It’s also a feat that’s been impossible to recreate. As soon as you smell them browning, they will be burnt by the time you make it to the stove. They were, however, the best mashed potatoes I’ve had ever had.

  • Sour cream

These are going to be decadent enough without the sour cream, but you still need a bit to make them creamy and smooth.

Drain the water and put the potatoes back on the pot. Add a dollop of sour cream and mash everything together.

Pour on the leftover butter sauce and top with…

  • Bacon bits

Potato Soup with Blue Cheese

Posted in Potatoes, Soup on November 1st, 2010 by admin – 1 Comment

The first time I made this potato soup I thought it came out pretty bland and ‘meh’. My curse of soup – I just can’t pull off a good, flavorful, broth-based soup to compete with anyone’s grandmother (or my standard – really good restaurant soup.) Then I added the blue cheese crumbles as instructed and it was suddenly great. I was reluctant to recommend it though since blue cheese is such a personal thing – you either love it or you hate it – that the recipe being so dependent on that single ingredient seemed like a failure.

It’s nowhere near St. Patrick’s Day like this recipe suggests it’s for, but since the weather has turned officially “icky” for the season I’ve been craving soup and I’ve been craving comfort food. Potatoes are big on my comfort food list so this weekend I found myself cooking up a big pot of soup I unfortunately can’t share with my ‘I’ll eat any cheese but blue cheese and cream cheese’ husband.

Ingredients:

  • 2 T Unsalted Butter
  • 1 ea Onion (Medium, Chopped)
  • 3 ea Shallots (Medium, Chopped)
  • 1 ea Carrot (Small, Sliced)
  • 1 ea Celery (Small, Sliced)
  • 4 C Yukon Gold Potatoes (½” Dice)
  • 2 C Chicken Broth (Low-Sodium)
  • 1 C Water
  • 1 T Fresh Thyme
  • 1 ¼ C Whole Milk
  • 1 T Kosher Salt
  • 1 T White Pepper (Ground)
  • 2 t Fresh Chives (Minced, For Garnish)
  • ½ C Blue Cheese (Crumbled)

I always make mashed potatoes with Yukon Golds, leaving the skins on, so I did the same for the soup. Cut out any eyes and questionable bits, but if the potatoes are fresh the skins should be thin and clean.

I love shallots, they’re a great semi-recent discovery for me, but I hate working with them. Since the layers are so thin they ask for a precision touch when chopping which means a lot more face time than with an onion. Then since they’re often paired with onions that’s a double dose of sulfoxides. Chop the other vegetables first and you can’t back out now…

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add Onion, Shallot and 1 t Salt; sweat until translucent. Add Celery and Carrot and continue to cook until the vegetables have softened slightly approximately 5 minutes.

vegetables in pot

Are my vegetables sweaty?

  1. Add Chicken Broth, Water and Potatoes to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; Cover and cook until potatoes are tender about 20 minutes.
  2. In a sauce pan bring the Milk to a simmer with the Thyme. Let steep about 10 minutes.

Since I was using dried thyme instead of fresh (1 tbsp) and because I forgot to time it properly and start the milk while the potatoes were cooking, I just simmered the dried thyme in the milk until it was heated.

  1. When Potatoes are tender, remove soup from heat add milk mixture and season with Salt, White Pepper.

potato soup in pot
Before the milk was added. The thyme-milk came out looking like a sickly cup of hot chocolate in the making.

  1. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Chives and Blue Cheese.

bowl of potato soup

Since it came out so well I’m going to admit that I had to use 2% milk instead of whole. I tasted it before the blue cheese and I think even then it tasted better than last time, but it could be that I knew better than to expect it to be finished without its garnish.

It could be that I used chicken broth in a can (left over from my pre-test day of no solid food) instead of… whatever kind I used last time.

Or it could just be that practice really does make perfect… but I’m using chicken broth from a can from now on.