Archive | November, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner: Creamy Mashed Potatoes

27 Nov

The following recipe is adapted from the November 2011 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  If you want to try their recipe, you can find it here.  I kept BA’s directions, but changed the ingredients a bit: I flipped the ratio of russet to Yukon Gold potatoes as I find that Yukon Golds make creamier, more flavorful mashed potatoes.  I also used half & half instead of whole milk and heavy cream.  (This wasn’t by choice, but because we forgot to get whole milk and heavy cream at the grocery store – whoops!)  Half & half worked great though and I will continue using it when I make this recipe again.  The other thing I did was despite halving the amount of potatoes used, I kept the amount of liquid the same.  This resulted in the perfect consistency and also helped the potatoes stay creamy for leftovers for a few days.  The real secret to what makes these mashed potatoes the creamiest, fluffiest potatoes you’ve ever tried is a food mill.  I used an OXO Good Grips Food Mill to “mash” the potatoes.  It was more of an arm workout than I bargained for on Thanksgiving, but it was worth it!  Here is my adaptation of BA’s recipe below.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2011 Issue 

Ingredients
2 lb. russet potatoes (2-3 large potatoes)
2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes (about half a large bag or 12-15 potatoes)
3 tbsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
10 whole white peppercorns
1 sprig rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried rosemary, but use fresh if you can)
2-3 bay leaves (use fresh if you can)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions
1. Fill a large pot halfway with cold water.  Peel the russet and Yukon gold potatoes and cut into 2″ pieces, adding to pot as they are cut.  Add cold water to cover by 1″ if needed.  Stir in kosher salt.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes and transfer to a baking sheet.  Spread potatoes and let dry for 10 minutes.
4. Once you have turned the heat on the potatoes to medium-low, in a separate small saucepan, heat half & half, peppercorns, rosemary and bay leaves over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Do this until mixture is very hot but not boiling, which should take about 10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and let mixture infuse for 20 minutes; then strain and set aside.  (According to BA, this will add herbal flavor without coloring the liquid.)
6.  Now that your potatoes have cooled and dried somewhat, pass the potatoes through the smallest disk of a food mill along with 1 stick of butter into a large bowl.  (My mom and I went back and forth about which disk we should use and while the small disk took a long time, the result was unbeatable.)
7. Once the potatoes have all passed through the food mill, stir in the hot half & half mixture.  Season generously to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Note: I prepared this dish three hours before the turkey was even ready to carve.  In order to keep it warm, I put the potatoes in a double boiler on the stove for two hours and then in our warming oven for the last hour.

Thanksgiving Dinner

26 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all had a nice holiday surrounded by family, close friends and great food!

Since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I wanted to share with you my family’s recipes from our Thanksgiving feast on Thursday.  Over the course of the next week, I will post each of the recipes.

Grandma’s Turkey
Mom’s Stuffing
Dad’s Turkey Gravy
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Miso & Almonds
Pear Bellinis (aka Christmas in a Cup)
Cranberry Ginger Fizz

To round out our meal, we serve Sister Shubert’s Parker House Style rolls, canned cranberry sauce and Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe using Whole Foods canned pumpkin.  I think we will use most of these recipes at Christmas they were all so good!

Asian-Inspired Salmon

13 Nov

I’m straying from Southern cooking here, but this is my “go to” dinner recipe when I want a home-cooked meal, but don’t have time to follow a recipe or search around the grocery store for a bunch of new ingredients.  My friend Kate made this a few years ago at a dinner party she hosted and she was nice enough to share her recipe with me.  I like serving this salmon with rice pilaf or basmati rice, green beans and a cold glass of sauvignon blanc.  This recipe is a true crowd-pleaser.  Everyone I’ve made this for comes back for seconds (and thirds!).

Asian-Inspired Salmon
(adapted from my friend Kate’s recipe)
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 pounds fresh salmon fillet
4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (find this in the Asian foods section of your grocery store)
8 tbsp. soy sauce (I prefer the low sodium version)
4 tbsp. honey
4 tsp. fresh grated ginger (using fresh ginger makes a huge difference here, but if you are pressed for time, dried is OK)
4 scallions, finely chopped

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Place salmon skin down in a baking dish.  For easier clean up and to keep the skin from sticking to the bottom of the pan, line the pan with tinfoil.
3. Mix vinegar and soy sauce.  Add honey while stirring vigorously so it mixes evenly.  Add ginger and scallions last.
4. Spoon/pour mixture onto salmon in pan.  Be sure to coat the entire fillet evenly.
5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until salmon has turned a light, opaque pink and easily flakes with a fork.