Gratuitous Yummy Food Post
So I'm going to tell you about the absolutely amazing mashed potatoes I made the other night.
Now, being of hardy German peasant stock, I never met a carbohydrate I didn't like. But potatoes hold a special place in my heart. Crispy, creamy, roasty, toasty, fluffy goodness all in a neat little jacket. What could be better?
Potatoes, or S. Tuberosum, are quite noble little bundles of goodness.
In the early and mid seventeeen hundreds, when civil war ravaged Europe and many conventional crops failed due to overfarming, potatoes saved many from starvation. The same is true for the Great Depression in the United States. Families could purchase a 50lb sack of potatoes for $1 and incorporated them into nearly every meal. They were cheap, filling, and nutritious.
It is widely believed that all the potato's nutrients are contained in the skin, but that is a fallacy. Approximately 50% are found within the potato itself.
Today, potatoes are the 4th largest food crop worldwide.
The French call potatoes "Pommes de terre" or, "apples of the earth".
All of that is pretty cool, but I love them just because they are delicious and because it has been the comfort food of choice for generations in my family.
So about my mashed potatoes....
I am a self confessed potato snob. I don't care for Russets. They have no body, and unless highly seasoned, they are mealy and tasteless. They're fine for pedestrian dishes such as french fries or hash browns, but for most uses, my potato of choice, is the Yukon Gold.
Their skins are thin; their flesh firm and tasty. Even completely unseasoned, they possess a sort of buttery flavor. They hold up well to all methods of preparation. Meaning, that unlike other species of potato, they don't turn into a gluey, starchtastic mess when they're cooked.
Honestly, once you taste mashed potatoes made from Yukon Gold, you'll never go back to Russet.
I'll warn you now, my method of preparation is anything but diet friendly.
I boiled my Yukon Gold potatos until they were soft, but still firm. I like my mashed potatoes to have some body to them.
Here in the South, there exists a distinction between methods of preparation. There are "creamed taters" and "mashed taters". Creamed taters are boiled until they're falling apart, augmented with a lot of milk and whipped with a blender until they are the consistency of oatmeal.
I don't care for creamed taters myself and strangely, neither does my husband. We both like our mashed potatoes with some texture.
I dumped them into my special mashed potato receptacle. It's a white porcelain bowl with a flat bottom and a porcelain lid. I like it because I can do all my mashing and seasoning right in the bowl, and serve from it as well. It also seems to keep the potatoes nice and hot, even when they've been sitting on the table for some time.
I use a hand masher because, as I said, both husband and I like them a little lumpy.
After my potatoes were sufficiently mashed, I added a stick of butter, and about..1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream. (I warned you). I salted and peppered them liberally, and added a bit of garlic powder. You don't want too much, or the garlic will overpower the already delicious flavor of the potato. If I had to guess, I'd say it was....1/2 teaspoon. Perhaps a smidge more, because I made a large batch.
This was the first time I had ever used heavy whipping cream to make mashed potatoes. I often use sour cream when I add chives, for a little variation on the traditional, but that's sort of a specialty mashed potato. I don't consider it a "true" mashed potato dish. I guess I'm a bit of a purist in that respect.
I had seen Nigella do it once on her old show "Nigella Bites". My mouth watered copiously during the entire episode. But I never seemed to have cream and potatoes on hand at the same time. This time, happily, I did, left over from my gluttonous fruit orgy.
I was more excited about finding whipping cream in my refrigerator than anybody should ever be.
Simply put, these mashed potatoes were transcendant. The first helping I ate with the mushroom gravy I had made to go over the pork loin, but the second helping I ate plain.
They were that good.
Even my boys, who did not inherit the carbohydrate gene, and normally turn up their nose at potatoes unless they come in a red carton with a big yellow "M" on it, asked for seconds.
Those stupid potatoes made me happy the rest of the night. And the next morning when I ate them for breakfast.
What? I can do that.
It's the breakfast of champions.