mashed potatoes

Mashed Potatoes, Two Ways (dairy-free and dairy-loaded)

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In our nuclear family of 11, there are the pro-potato people and the no-potato people.

I am a top level pro-potato person.

And as you can see from the photos, so are two of my grand daughters, who helped me make some mashed potatoes for dinner a while ago.

The recipe we made was a butter-cream-cheese-sour-cream indulgence. (It could be a meal in itself!) But we’ve also made dairy-free versions. Pro-potato people like it all ways.

Are mashed potatoes on your menu for Thanksgiving? If so — or any other time — check out both recipes, dairy-loaded and dairy-free.

dairy-loaded Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Gold)

  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese, cut into chunks

  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream

  • 1/4 cup warm milk, approximately

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Cook them in lightly salted simmering water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and return the potatoes to the pan. Cook briefly over low heat to evaporate the excess moisture. Mash the potatoes with a ricer or potato masher. Add the butter and cream cheese and mash them in thoroughly until the butter and cheese are completely blended in. Add the sour cream and blend in thoroughly. Mix in enough milk for desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings

 

DAIRY-FREE Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 medium all-purpose potatoes such as Yukon Gold

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable stock

  • salt to taste

  • pinch or two of cayenne pepper

  • 3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and cook them in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes, or until they are fork tender. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until the vegetables are beginning to brown. Set aside. Drain the potatoes and mash them with a ricer or potato masher until the lumps have disappeared. Add the vegetables and olive oil and stir them in gently. Stir in the lemon juice, stock, salt and the cayenne pepper. Place the mixture in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is crispy and brown.

Makes 6 servings

The Vegetable that Looks Like a Creature from Outer Space

Have you seen this vegetable with its big bottom bulb and leafy-topped stalks sticking up like the antennae of a creature from outer space? It's not very popular and not very familiar, but should be, because it tastes so good and has such a terrific crunch when eaten raw.

I think people may avoid it because they don't know what it is or what to do with it. 

Basically it's this, a cabbage variant. The name means "cabbage turnip." You can eat the bulb and the leaves. (Cook the leaves like any green leafy vegetable.)

The bulb takes some work. You have to peel them as you would broccoli stems. Underneath the thick skin you might also find some fibrous strings, which you should also remove. Then you're left with the crispy, juicy, tender flesh, which you can eat raw (good for crudites), or make into cole slaw or as a substitute for cucumber in tea sandwiches and salad. 

On the other hand, kohlrabi can be cooked too, and, like all cabbage is especially perfect with potatoes. Mashed potatoes are lighter, sweeter and amazingly interesting when you mix them with mashed kohlrabi. For this recipe I've also included parsnips and apples. It's a terrific side dish for fish, poultry, meat or as part of a vegetarian dinner.

 

Kohlrabi, Parsnip, Potato Mash

  • 1-½ to 2 pounds kohlrabi bulbs, peeled, chopped into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold or all-purpose potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons butter, margarine or olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Place the kohlrabi in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the parsnips and potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the apple and cook for 5-6 minutes or until all the ingredients are tender. Drain and place the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the butter and mash until smooth and thoroughly blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chopped parsley.

Makes 8 servings

 

How Many Ways Can You Make Mashed Potatoes

I'm thinking mashed potatoes at the moment. Probably because Thanksgiving is coming. But really I don't need a holiday to think about this dish. I could eat mashed potatoes any time. Any day.

My mother used to make them using what she called "all-purpose" potatoes (or "Eastern" or "Maine"). She'd cook the spuds and use an old fashioned potato masher to get them smooth, then mix in the most fabulous goodies: butter, cream cheese or sour cream (sometimes both), milk and plenty of salt and pepper.

Life is good when you can eat like that.

Years later I read that many professional cooks prefer russet potatoes for mashing. I tried it, but frankly, my Mom's version is much better. So I stuck with all-purpose until Yukon Golds came along. Those make good mashed potatoes too, with the right texture and lots of flavor.

Still, there are other considerations when making mashed potatoes, besides the actual potatoes.

For example, maybe you don't want to include dairy ingredients. No problem. I've made awesome dairy-free mashed potatoes

Maybe you like a crust? Here's a recipe for you.

Other ingredients? Sure. You can mix in roasted garlic or spice the spuds up with horseradish, and lots more of course.

One of our family favorites was when my Mom mixed cooked spinach into the mashed potatoes. She called that "creamed spinach" and that's what I thought creamed spinach actually was until I got to college and discovered there weren't supposed to be potatoes in it. 

In Ireland, justifiably famous for its potato recipes, there's a dish called Colcannon (variation, Kailkenny), which is basically mashed potatoes mixed with cooked cabbage or kale. I'd say it's similar to my Mom's "creamed spinach." And it's just as good. It's also more colorful and pleasing to the eye than plain old mashed potatoes.

Colcannon, Kailkenny -- a terrific dish, especially as a side dish for your Thanksgiving turkey, vegetarian Thanksgiving or on some other day to accompany roasted salmon.

Colcannon/Kailkenny

  • 1 medium bunch kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 all-purpose or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 5 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk, approximately (dairy, soy or rice milk)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • freshly ground nutmeg

Wash the kale thoroughly, discarding any thick stems. Dry the leaves with paper towels or in a salad spinner. Chop the leaves coarsely. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the kale and stir to coat the leaves with the oil in the pan. Pour in the stock, cover the pan and cook, lifting the cover to stir the ingredients occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until the kale has wilted. Remove the cover and cook for another minute or until the liquid in the pan has evaporated.

Cook the potatoes in a saucepan in lightly salted water for 15-20 minutes or until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and mash them with a potato masher, fork or electric mixer or hand beater set on low speed. Add the butter or margarine in chunks and continue to mash until the mixture is free of lumps. Add the milk, salt, pepper and a few grindings of fresh nutmeg. Stir to distribute ingredients. Add more milk if you prefer a softer texture. Add the kale and stir it in.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

 

 

Ginormous Parsnips

We are a parsnip-eating family and I am always amazed when people say they've never tried one. Or that they once had a bite of one from some soup or other.

This is a vegetable that doesn't get its due.

It should.

Parsnips -- those white-ish, carrot-looking things -- are sweet. Kids and vegetable-haters of all kinds also usually like them (after you convince them to take a bite). 

And there is so much you can do with them. Make "fries." Roast them with garlic and herbs. Glaze them with Chermoula. Use it for soup

Slim parsnips make the best fries or other vegetable side dishes. But these ginormous ones can be woody. It's best to use them for soup or recipes that require longer cooking (and you'll have to remove the hard, inner core. Cut the parsnips in half, crosswise, then cut around the core; discard the core).

This Parsnip and Potato Puree can be dairy or dairy-free. It's a good choice for a vegetarian dinner or Meatless Monday dish. It's also a nice side dish for Thanksgiving dinner because it tastes good with turkey and other poultry.

Parsnip and Potato Puree

  • 1 pound parsnips, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 pound Yukon gold or all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 McIntosh or other crisp, tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk or unflavored soy milk, rice milk or coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the parsnips and potatoes in lightly salted boiling water for 10 minutes. Add the apples, lower the heat, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the parsnips and potatoes are tender. Drain the ingredients and return them to the pan. Add the butter and mash it into the other ingredients. Continue to mash, adding the milk gradually, until the ingredients form a smooth puree. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4–6 servings.

 

Mashed Potato, Kale and Feta Cheese Pancakes

See these pancakes? I actually try not to make them too often, because, like the old Lay's ad said: you can't eat just one.

These pancakes are soft and creamy inside, fabulously crispy on the surface and have an earthy, vaguely mineral-y potato flavor plus the tang of cheese. They are among my favorite things to eat ever

Also, they are perfect for Passover because they contain matzo farfel, not bread or bread crumbs. 

They are perfect for Hanukkah when you might want a different kind of latke.

They are perfect for vegetarian meals anytime.

They are perfect as a brunch dish for company because you can make them ahead and reheat (preheat oven to 425 degrees F).

Try one! And maybe freeze the rest to keep yourself from overeating. They store nicely in the freezer (wrapped twice in plastic) for up to two months.

The recipe comes from my book, The Modern Kosher Kitchen. The photo is courtesy Glenn Scott Photography.

Mashed Potato, Kale and Feta Cheese Pancakes

  • 2 cups matzo farfel
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil for frying

Place the matzo farfel in a bowl, cover with very hot water and let soak for a few minutes until soft. Drain the farfel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Return the drained farfel to the bowl. While the matzo farfel is soaking, heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion and cook for a minute. Add the kale, cover the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until the kale has wilted. Spoon the mixture into a strainer and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the vegetables. Add to the matzo farfel and mix ingredient s to distribute them evenly. Add the mashed potatoes, feta cheese and egg and mix ingredients thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat about 1/2-inch vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Shape the potato mixture into patties and fry for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.  

 Makes about 16-18 pancakes, 6-8 servings

 

Mashed Potatoes

Chow posted a recipe today for Creamed Spinach. It’s made with baby spinach and lots of cream. I am sure it is delicious. Looks nice too. For the recipe:

http://www.chow.com/recipes/10731-creamed-spinach

My mother got us to eat spinach with her recipe for creamed spinach. Her version was this: mix cooked spinach with mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were so rich, creamy and buttery that she could have put any vegetable with it — turnips included — and we would have eaten it. Here’s the recipe:

Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Gold)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream
  • 1/4 cup warm milk, approximately
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Cook them in lightly salted simmering water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and return the potatoes to the pan. Cook briefly over low heat to evaporate excess moisture. Mash the potatoes with a ricer or potato masher. Add the butter and cream cheese and mix in thoroughly until the butter an cheese are completely blended in. Add the sour cream and blend in thoroughly. Mix in enough milk for desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings

If you want to make it into creamed spinach: add a bunch or two of cooked spinach.