Mashed Potatoes–Where to buy, how to cook
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***(AND THOSE FOOD LINKS YOU WANT BELOW!)
link to: My Mashed Potatoes
The type of potato you buy for your mashed potatoes is just as important as the recipe you use. Buy organic russet potatoes loose from Wholefoods for a good value (the brown ones that look dirty), and look for similar sized potatoes so you don’t have to do so much work cutting them into evenly sized little soldiers. OR buy organic Yukon Gold potatoes (the thinner pale golden skin ones) also loose from Wholefoods or similar. Sometimes Jewel does them, but their target customer does not demand organic foods so sometimes they can be left to sit for sometime and get kinda withered and green. If you buy them loose you can ensure you can SEE what you are buying! I always tell my kids…”You are paying the same price for whichever ones you choose, so CHOOSE the excellent ones!”
I know organic foods are expensive. But if you were going to blow the budget, your potato is the place to sink your buck.
Potatoes snuggle under the earth, so maybe that is why they taste so much better when they aren’t grown with pesticides or from genetically modified ingredients.
I wouldn’t get organic potatoes over ordinary potatoes if they were shriveled up and green, though. A firm, beautiful, healthy looking vegetable is the best vegetable. If you can get a firm, beautiful organic russet or organic Yukon Gold potato, then you are in line for a taste sensation.
Okay, that’s done, right?
Wrong! There are only a few ingredients in mashed potatoes so choose wisely or face the wooden spoon in Renata’s Kitchen!
The second choice you need to invest in is the milk. Sorry, folks, but you gotta buy organic for Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, and that’s an order! The best organic milk is Organic Valley. Buy 2% or whole milk. When mashing your potatoes, you want the milk to be warmed so it doesn’t shock your lovely steaming cooked potatoes. It will truly make such a taste difference!
Next ingredient is butter. You can use Lurpak (Danish), Kerrygold (Irish), or Organic Valley (America). I have listed my favorites in order of preference.
Salt. Ahhhh, the salt. Now, don’t get mad, but I need you to get two kinds of salt! I’m sorry. But you need to boil your potatoes in regular old table salt, but season them at the end with sea salt or Himalayan pink sea salt, all of which are available at Wholefoods Market bulk section.
That’s it on the shopping list!
Now, remember the other REALLY important coaching tip.
After you peel your potatoes, make sure you cut those potatoes into evenly sized little soldiers!
Every potato should be roughly the same size. Think of them as your children, all eyeballing you to make sure they get the exact same amount of juice in their cup or they will throw a hissy fit. Don’t listen to what anyone tells you. Potatoes DO have feelings, and they get so jealous if you don’t treat them all as equals.
Once you cut those babies up, give them a little rinse, then put them in a large pot and cover them by about 2 inches with cold tap water. Never use warm or hot tap water. It’s been sitting in the tank all used and heated for ages! Demand fresh, cold water for your Thanksgiving beauties, and always!
Once your babies are covered in water, pour a tablespoon of ordinary table salt in the pot and swirl it around so they are all bathing in their lovely potato sea!
Cover the sea of potatoes. Turn the heat on high to boil. Once boiling, reduce to a strong simmer, and keep an eye on them.
About 15 minutes or so later, pierce a potato chunk with the tip of your knife. When it slides in neatly, it’s done. It should feel like it’s going into soft cheese, not sloppy wet!
Turn off the stove and dump those babies out.
Now, you can cheat for the milk and heat it in the microwave unless you are my friend Gayle who thinks the microwave will abruptly end your life, or cause you to suffer in some other way. If you agree with Gayle, you will have to gently heat your milk in a small pot on the stove.
I usually just pour a mug of milk and pop it in the microwave on “beverage” for a minute while I strain the potatoes.
Pop the potatoes back into the pot, pour half the mug of hot milk into the pot, and use an electric mixer to begin mixing first at low speed.
Once all the potatoes are mixed somewhat, crank the power to high.
Now, whip those babies into a fully fluffed cream dream! OMG I want some NOW!!!
I have tried hand mixers, the electric mixer, and potato ricers. I have even tried the food processor (good!) But the best way I have ever tasted mashed potatoes is using the good old hand mixer my momma used when we were growing up.
Maybe I just feel nostalgic when I use it. But I don’t think so! My whole family goes insane for these mashed potatoes!
Once you have whipped the heck out of those potatoes (adding a little more of that hot milk if you need it!), you can just stand back and taste a finger full.
Now is the time to crank a few twists of sea salt in those creamy dreamies.
Costco makes a really cute little salt grinder. I use that! They have mini grinders that cost only a few bucks each and come in sea salt, black pepper, and Himalayan pink sea salt. I use the grinders for salt that goes directly on top my food and onto my tongue. I use ordinary salt for seasoning pasta cooking water, boiling, anything the salt is working its way into over the course of the cooking time.
If you want to invest in an electric pepper grinder, I think you will be very happy! I can’t tell you how many friends have made fun of my electric pepper mill that has a light bulb in the bottom to illuminate the pepper as it comes tumbling onto the food. The next thing I know, they are asking me “Where is that pepper grinder?” and “Oh, I just LOVE this pepper grinder!”
***Today’s Links from $10-$25
- Kirkland 2 salts and a pepper Here is a link to the nice little combo pack from Kirkland that I use. It gives you a nice selection and costs $14.20 for the whole kit and kaboodle. Grind them onto your finished whipped mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. I usually don’t grind black pepper on my mashed potatoes to serve, but let my ‘customers’ add if they like. The cream dream needs it’s time to put everyone into a potato trance! OH SLURP, does my recipe for my mashed potatoes get them drooling!
- Just the Pink Himalayan Sea Salt grinder If you just want to try the pink sea salt, you can buy this one for around $10. It’s beautiful to look at, and part of the magic of eating is the visual sense! This salt tastes fantastic cranked on top of Renata’s PoweRisotto, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with torn herbs. Oh MOMMA! It would be so cute to give someone a gift basket with the sealed ingredient base of organic red lentils, the organic Basmati rice, the sea salts, and a little bottle of extra virgin Italian olive oil! Renata is gonna pray on that one, and will report back to you for duty!
- Blow the budget Electronic Pepper Mill-SO FUN! I wish I could recommend the pepper mill I got from a fancy schmancy store, which I DO love. But I gotta be honest, I wish I had bought this one! It’s very highly reviewed and seems easier to load with both salt and batteries. This one would also make a great “Under $25 Gift”as it is priced at $22.19. Need more ideas for gifts or seasonings? Write me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org for free Kitchen Coaching! I live to serve all my lovely cooking customers! Magic happens in the kitchen during all the chopping, stirring and grinding!
Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea.”
-Pythagoras (580BC – 500 BC)
Thank you God for the sun and the sea and the salt and the kitchen counter where I grind my way through all the obstacles of my day sometimes with very few answers at the end…but delicious food!