My grandson turned one this week, and in celebration, I wanted to make a birthday dinner full of foods he could eat by himself with his adorable little hands. I chose Judy’s Mom’s Meatloaf, Amazingly Delicious Sautéed Carrots, mashed potatoes and a funfetti cake.
He loved everything and entertained us all as he picked away at his food with focus and determination.
It has been easily five years since I last made a bowl of creamy, mashed potatoes. I’ve been roasting them for so long it hardly ever occurs to me to mash them anymore, but have I ever been missing out. They were good. The calorie count wasn’t too bad, either. I only used six tablespoons of butter and one-half cup of milk for three pounds of potatoes. I like to make mashed potatoes with a combination of Russets and Yukon Golds if I have both in the potato bin; Russets for their high starch content and Yukons for their great flavor.
When I looked at a photo of my dinner plate, its plainness brought back memories of my childhood dinners: starch, vegetable, protein. That threesome was a religion for my mother.
3 pounds potatoes (5-6 large), peeled and quartered
½ cup milk, whole or 2% reduced fat
6 tablespoons butter
Salt, to taste. I used ¾ teaspoon (plus the tablespoon that went into the potato water)
Mise en Place
Fill an 8-quart pot with water and one handful (1 tablespoon) of salt. Bring to a boil. You will want enough water to cover the potatoes by about an inch.
While waiting for the water to boil, peel and quarter the potatoes. Cut potatoes into uniform chunks, so that they will cook evenly.
When the water comes to a boil, add potatoes. Bring water back to a boil and set a timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes of cooking, check for doneness by piercing a potato with a sharp knife. It should go in easily. If it doesn’t, add 5 more minutes of cooking time and test again. If you are not sure if they have cooked enough, just taste one. When finished cooking, drain potatoes in a colander and allow the steam to dry them. You want the potatoes to be hot and dry when you add the butter mixture.
Heat butter and milk in either a microwave or a saucepan until the butter is melted and the milk is hot, but not boiling.
Place potatoes in a bowl and mix for about 20 seconds on slow speed. Add the hot butter/milk mixture and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix until potatoes reach the consistency you desire — lumpy or whipped.
“Salt to taste” Add more salt according to your taste preferences, realizing that the interior of the potatoes have already been salted while they were boiling and there is salt in the butter. To adjust salt: add salt in increments of ¼ teaspoon. For this batch, I only needed to add ¼ teaspoon more for a total of ¾ teaspoon.
Serve hot. They do not taste as delicious reheated. Better to store prepped, uncooked potatoes in a bowl of cold water until dinnertime and then cook, rather than make them earlier in the day.
Kitchen Tip: When you smell something bad or rotten, in the kitchen always check the potato bin first. That happened to me this week and sure enough, there was a rotting potato in my basket of homegrown new potatoes.
Judy’s Mom’s Meatloaf
Amazingly Delicious Sautéed Carrots
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© 2014-2018 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.