Monday, November 13, 2006

Mashed Potatoes: An Authentic Idaho Girl Recipe

I have felt like such a writing slacker, forgive me. I haven't felt much like cooking or eating or even writing about cooking due to my recent quadruple wisdom tooth extraction. BUT today I woke up and didn't feel the need to rush for the pain medication, so I feel honor bound to present the recipe that has kept me alive for the past week and a half. All Idaho girls should have this recipe (or their own variation) etched upon their hearts; here is mine, for a gi-normous batch of creamy, hot, steamy mashed potatoes.

Start out with a pot. Peal a bunch of potatoes, enough to mostly fill the pot (if your pot is the same size as my pot, that will be about 6-8 big old baking spuds). Wash the potatoes in cold water, peel them, and rinse them again (painful, yes). Cut them into same-sized manageable chunks. Put your potato chunks into the empty pot and just cover them with cold water. Add 2-3 teaspoons salt to the water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. When you can easily pierce the potato with a fork, they are done cooking (20-40 minutes). Take them out, drain all the water out and put the potatoes back into the hot pot to let more liquid evaporate off. Heat up about a cup of milk in the microwave, not boiling hot, but pretty hot (about 1 minute).

Put the potatoes in a big bowl (or your stand mixer) and use a hand beater (off, for now) to give a good mash to the spuds. Now, get some butter or margarine and put about 4 or 5 tablespoon chunks right on the potatoes and a teaspoon sprinkling of salt (I'm currently in love with kosher, coarse salt. Garlic salt is also good in it. Once, we used a bunch of roasted garlic; that was delightful). Next, pour about 1/2 a cup milk onto the potatoes, turn the beaters to low and carefully smash the potatoes; add milk, salt, and butter as needed to the proper taste and consistency (as defined by you). When they are mostly all smashed, whip it up on high to a creamy heaven. When I'm feeling extra unhealthy, I put pats of butter into the finished pile of happiness.

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