Sunday, February 9, 2014

Staying in From the Cold

I admit it, compared to yesterday, today was a much more quiet day. With the snow coming down constantly, I made a judgement call to stay in and work in the house. I finished up another hat with my knitting, and I did a little bit of cooking, specifically making the mashed potatoes.
Now to be fair, my potatoes are good. Not exactly healthy, but good. I usually start out by peeling between five to seven pounds of potatoes, adding a heavy pinch of salt and boiling them in about a gallon of water for about twenty minutes, or until they are tender. I then pull it off the burner and drain it. Everything then goes into the extra large bowl on the Kitchenaid mixer. (To be fair, I still sometimes use an antique potato masher, the stand mixer is a fairly recent find for me.) Then, starting the mixer on low (This is more important than you can imagine, I started it on high once and was cleaning mashed potatoes off of the ceiling.) I start by adding some butter. As I was first taught by my parents, it calls for about half of a stick for margarine. As I learned to cook though, I started to follow my grandmother's method, and I now add a solid stick of butter, cut down into pats to make it easier to integrate. This is then followed by a half cup to a cut of half-and-half. (The exact amount depends on the dryness of the potatoes, and really has to be determined by eye. Potatoes are an agricultural object, so standardizing density is impossible.) My first recipe called for the role of the dairy to be played by a similar amount of two percent milk, but I personally prefer the cream, both for taste and texture issues. (In regards to the milk and margarine versus the cream and butter: I said the mashed potatoes were good, I never claimed that you could eat the whole pot by yourself. Like everything else, moderation is key. That being said, with how processed margarine is, I think butter might be healthier.) The mashed potatoes are ready, and have about fifteen servings.
I guess if there are any morals to take away from this, it might be to think critically about the information that is brand new to us. On occasion, we can reach to the past to learn how to do something better. 

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