"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Foodie Friday: Mashed Potatoes: Simply the Best!

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Mashed Potatoes c2012


When my husband and I were first together hearing this question: “Can we have potatoes tonight?” would send me into a panic. My heritage is completely Italian, I did not grow up eating potatoes. My Irish friends ate potatoes, along with Chef Boyardee raviolis in can. I so wanted to try these, “Macaroni in a can,” my mother would exclaim, “never, in my house!” Potatoes in our house were pretty rare also. My brother used to ask for mashed potatoes on his birthday, so I know we ate them at least once a year.
So back to my panic... potatoes? “Really, don’t you want to have pasta?” “No.” “What about  brown rice?” I was really comfortable with rice, I had been a Macrobiotic for a long time and ate brown rice 3 times a day for many years. I could make rice on the stove top, I could make rice in a pressure cooker, or even in the oven, but potatoes???
I always had to call my mom, and say, “He wants potatoes tonight. How do you boil them again?” I guess my mom got tired of this pathetic question and said one day, “Come by and visit me I have something for you.” 
When I got to her house she gave me her mother’s potato ricer. “What is this?” “This is the secret to great mashed potatoes” A potato ricer is gadget for mashing potatoes or other food by forcing it through a sheet of small holes, which are often not much wider than a grain of rice.
I took the ricer home and used it until it’s 70th birthday when I replaced it with a ricer from William Sonoma. Well, actually, I bought a cheap one from the grocery store first, but it did not last very long. Don’t buy a cheap ricer.  Remember it is an investment in your family’s potato happiness.
Needless to say, thanks to my grandmother’s ricer and my determination to be able to make potatoes like an American I have come up with a full proof mash potato recipe. Remember,  for the best taste get organic potatoes there really is a difference in taste.   It is a little know fact that potato farmers keep a plot to raise organic potatoes for their family because they will not eat the pesticide ladened ones they sell. 

Putting Potatoes into ricer c2012

Ricing Potatoes c2012

Riced potatoes before you mix them with milk. c2012


Simply the Best Mashed Potatoes
by Diane Balch
Total time: 40 minutes Serves: 4-6
8 medium organic potatoes peeled and cut into 4’s, large cubes. ( Any kind is fine but Russet and Yellow are the best.)
1/2 stick of butter softened and chopped up into 1/2 inch chunks.
1 cup whole milk room temperature or buttermilk (for a tangy flavor) or if you are feeling decadent: heavy cream.
1/8 of a teaspoon of nutmeg.
salt and pepper to taste.

Put the potatoes into a large sauce pan and just cover them with cold water. Liberally salt them about 1/2 tablespoon of salt.

Bring the potatoes to a boil. Once they come to a boil put a timer on for 10 minutes. Test them with a fork (It should go through them easily.) before straining them in a colander.

Put your ricer over a medium size ceramic bowl and rice about 4 cubes at a time.

When you have riced all of the potatoes add the butter, nutmeg, and salt and pepper and mix with a fork (So you won’t create any lumps.) until the butter is completely melted.

Slowly begin to mix in the milk. (You can always add more, but you can’t add less.) Mixing it in until you get the consistency that you like. (Some like creamer more milk, some like stiffer less milk.) You probably will not use the whole cup.

Taste the potatoes and decide if they need more salt and pepper.
Cover with aluminum foil and keep in a warm oven until it is time to serve them.
copyright 2012
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9 comments:

  1. I like to throw a few cloves of garlic in with them while they're boiling and mash it in when they're done...

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  2. I have the same ricer and love it...I like to melt the butter first and "poach" some garlic in it for 10 minutes or so...remove the garlic and use the infused butter...awesome!

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  3. My husband and son adore mashed potatoes, but I've never tried using a potato ricer. Looking at how lovely your mashed potatoes look, I'm going to get one! I like the idea of adding the nutmeg - it sounds delicious.

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    1. A ricer is awesome. You'll never have lumps again. You can rice in parsnips or turnips too to add an interesting flavor. The nutmeg is really nice, just go easy on it.

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  5. I always use a ricer. You are right, they make the best mashed potatoes! And with a lot less effort.

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    1. The purist will have argued with me that they are not "mashed potatoes" unless you use a masher. I think they have never tried a ricer.

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