Tag Archives: mashed potatoes

Buttery Garlic Mashed Potatoes

 

Ahhh, the humble potato. This starchy, much-maligned root vegetable that is a darling and then an outcast, depending on which way the media winds blow. The reason Ireland didn’t completely starve to death. The bearer of cream cheese, chives, and chili.

Potatoes are pretty cool.

Origins of the Potatovarieties of potatoes on a map

The potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize. There are many many different types, or cultivars, or potatoes, from blue to red to yellow to the hardy workhorse russet.

The highest potato yields are produced in the United States, in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Burbank Russet potato harvest begins in late August or early September and ends by the first of November. Idaho’s harvest begins in September after Labor Day and ends by the first of November. Available year round, November to late June Burbank Russet supplies come from storage potatoes.

The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C. Then in 1536 Spanish Conquistadors conquered Peru, discovered the wonderous flavors of the potato, and carried them to Europe.  Before the end of the sixteenth century, families of  sailors began to cultivate potatoes along the  coast of northern Spain.  Sir Walter Raleigh introduced potatoes to Ireland in 1589 near Cork.

Eventually, Europeans found potatoes easier to grow and cultivate than other staple crops, such as wheat and oats. Most importantly, it became known that potatoes contained most of the vitamins needed for sustenance, and each acre of land cultivated could provide a year’s worth for nearly 10 people. Talk about an agricultural feat!

In the 1840s a major outbreak of potato blight swept through Europe, wiping out the potato crop in many countries. The Irish working class lived largely on potatoes, so when the blight reached Ireland, their main staple food disappeared. This famine left many poverty-stricken families with no choice but to struggle to survive, starve, or emigrate out of Ireland. Over the course of the multi-year famine, almost one million people in Ireland and Europe died from starvation or disease. Another one million people left Ireland, mostly for Canada and the United States.

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Potatoes arrived in the Colonies in 1621 when the Governor of Bermuda sent two large chests containing potatoes and other vegetables to Governor Francis Wyatt of Virginia at Jamestown.  The first permanent potato patches in North America were established in 1719 in New Hampshire.  From there, the crop spread across the country.

Idaho, the present-day largest producer of potatoes, did not begin growing potatoes until 1836, when missionaries moved west in an effort to teach the native tribes to grow crops instead of relying upon hunting and gathering methods.  However, it wasn’t until 1872 when the Russet Burbank variety was developed, that the Idaho potato industry began to flourish.

The original Russet Burbank potato clone was discovered in the 1870s by Luther Burbank and was called “Burbank’s Seedling”. It developed from a first generation seedling of an open-pollinated cultivar “Early Rose” in Massachusetts. In the late 1800s, he marketed this special seedling to Western states, under the name “Burbank”. The Russet Burbank potato became and still is the major cultivar grown in the USA, especially in the Pacific Northwest. – Read more here.

French Fries were introduced to the U.S. when Thomas Jefferson served them in the White House during his Presidency of 1801-1809.  Collinet, chef for French King Louis Phillipe unintentionally created soufflés (or puffed) potatoes by plunging already fried potatoes into extremely hot oil to reheat them when the King arrived late for dinner one night. To the chef’s surprise and the king’s delight, the potatoes puffed up like little balloons.

In 1853 railroad magnate Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt complained that his potatoes were cut too thick and sent them back to the kitchen at a fashionable resort in Saratoga Springs, NY. To spite his haughty guest, Chef George Crum sliced some potatoes paper thin, fried them in hot oil, salted and served them. To everyone’s surprise, Vanderbilt loved his “Saratoga Crunch Chips,” and potato chips have been popular ever since.

The good historians at “potatogoodness.com” supplies this list of fun facts about the humble, yet oh-so-popular spud.

Did you know…

  • During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, (1897-1898) potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold. Potatoes were valued for their vitamin C.  And gold, at that time, was more plentiful than nutritious foods!
  • In October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space. NASA and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, created the technology with the goal of feeding astronauts on long space voyages, and eventually, feeding future space colonies.

The Incas had many uses for potatoes other than dinner:

  • Placed raw slices on broken bones to promote healing
  • Carried them to prevent rheumatism
  • Ate with other foods to prevent indigestion.
  • Measured time: by correlating units of time by how long it took for potatoes to cook.
  • Various folk remedies recommend using potatoes:
  • Treat facial blemishes by washing you face daily with cool potato juice.
  • Treat frostbite or sunburn by applying raw grated potato or potato juice to the affected area.
  • Help a toothache by carrying a potato in your pocket.
  • Ease a sore throat by putting a slice of baked potato in a stocking and tying it around your throat.
  • Ease aches and pains by rubbing the affected area with the water potatoes have been boiled in

http://www.potatogoodness.com/all-about-potatoes/potato-fun-facts-history/

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Ingredients:

  • 4-5 large Russet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Garlic salt to taste
  • Shredded cheddar, optional

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Step 1: If you really want to, peel your potatoes. I just give them a good rinse, because the skin is where the gorgeous vitamins are most concentrated. Dice the potatoes, and boil them for 15-20 minutes. Drain and put back into the pan.

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Step 2: Using a fancy potato masher (or a simple spoon, fork, your hands, a wooden spoon…) mash up the potatoes. This part will take a little elbow grease, but think of how toned your bicep (at least, one of them) will be afterwards!

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Step 3: Add in the butter while the potatoes are still hot. Continue mashing, and add in the sour cream and milk. If you like your potatoes super runny, add more milk. If you like them thicker, use less. Mash until your desired consistency (I love just a little bit of chunks still left).

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Step 4: If using, sprinkle on some sharp cheddar cheese, and add garlic salt to taste. (Add some, mix it well, taste a little spoonful. Then add another 6 tablespoons, stir again, and taste…repeat as necessary)

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Your potatoes are ready to roll! Top with some fresh chives or herbs, more garlic salt, chili, gravy, sauce, whatever…

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These are an amazing, down-home side dish. Goes great with meatballs, meatloaf, ribs, steak… pretty much any meat thing. If you make a whole lot extra, you can use the leftovers to top shepherd’s pie, or use it as a filling in classic potato pierogi.

 

Buttery Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Buttery Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4-5 large Russet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Garlic salt to taste
  • Shredded cheddar, optional

Instructions

  1. If you really want to, peel your potatoes. I just give them a good rinse, because the skin is where the gorgeous vitamins are most concentrated. Dice the potatoes, and boil them for 15-20 minutes. Drain and put back into the pan.
  2. Using a fancy potato masher (or a simple spoon, fork, your hands, a wooden spoon...) mash up the potatoes. This part will take a little elbow grease, but think of how toned your bicep (at least, one of them) will be afterwards!
  3. Add in the butter while the potatoes are still hot. Continue mashing, and add in the sour cream and milk. If you like your potatoes super runny, add more milk. If you like them thicker, use less. Mash until your desired consistency (I love just a little bit of chunks still left).
  4. If using, sprinkle on some sharp cheddar cheese, and add garlic salt to taste.
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/comfort-food/buttery-garlic-mashed-potatoes/

 

Another chapter in my life

 

To all the readers who are in the New England praying fervently for spring to finally be here, so the snow mountains can begin melting and we can reclaim half the roads, I am one of you now!

Yes, that’s right, the Budget Epicurean has physically relocated across the country from Denver, Colorado to New Haven, Connecticut.

I question my sanity too, join the club.

Jobs brought us out here, but I already have a sneaking suspicion the beauty and ocean may make us happy about the change. Of course, driving a UHaul with a car being trailered behind it and two dogs in the cab for 32 hours, the final 12 of which are a force-you-to-do-20-on-the-highway blizzard isn’t exactly a picnic. But we made it!

I am quite excited to try all that the New Haven area has to offer, and it seems there is so much here! Of course, you may experience an uptick in seafood-related reviews and recipes. Cannot tell you how excited I am that the ocean is only 30 minutes away! And NYC only 2 hours by train. Lots of exploring to be done this year.

So dear readers, that’s the scoop. Hope you stick around for whatever comes next.

 

I’ll leave you with some ideas for St. Patrick’s Day this Tuesday. These recipes also work great for St. Patrick’s Day leftovers like leftover mashed potatoes, or leftover cabbage.

Easy Mashed Potato Pirogi

As a Hungarian-Slovak-Polish American, pirogi are a critical part of many holidays. And any day of the week really. I had never attempted making them, but since we had recently made FIVE POUNDS of mashed potatoes, I decided to give it a try with the leftovers.

Since the potatoes are not my recipe, I can’t put the mashed potatoes on here, but they were great! I know it involves sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and butter…. Anyways, start with any mashed potatoes as the filling. And the dough is super-easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz tub of sour cream
  • 3 cups of flour
  • Mashed potatoes (~1 cup)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced

Seriously, it’s that easy!

 Step 1: Mix the flour and sour cream well until it forms a dough. Roll it out on a floured surface.

 Step 2: Using a small cup or other cutter, cut out ~3inch circles of dough. You can re-roll the pieces about 4 times.

mashed potato pierogi

 Step 3: Place ~1 tsp of mashed potatoes in the middle of the circle of dough. Press the sides together to make a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges with a fork.

 Step 4: Drop into boiling water and simmer for about 5 minutes to cook the dough. Drain.

 Step 5: Melt a half stick of butter (or as much as your arteries can handle!) and cook the onions until translucent and slightly browned.

Step 6: Fry the pirogi in the butter & onions about 3 minutes, until yellow-brown on both sides. Enjoy!

They weren’t quite as good as my grandma’s or mom’s, but pretty darn good for a first attempt! And I have the rest of forever to perfect my techniques.

Shepherd’s Pie my way

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As you can see in a post prior to this, I had recently made a large amount of mashed potatoes & cauliflower. I had quite a bit left over, so I was browsing some of my favorite recipe web sites for ideas. I wanted to make pierogi (I am slovak & polish you know) but I was out of eggs (used my last one in my breakfast BELT recipe!) so I couldn’t make the dough.
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Then I stumbled across this recipe for “Italian Irishman’s pie” on Allrecipes.com. It used sausage instead of beef in shepherd’s pie. Since I had a pack of Johnsonville Cheddarwurst Brats in the freezer, I figured this could work. So with what I had on hand, I pared it down to serve two (since a large amount of food almost always goes to waste) and gave it a try. It came out pretty tasty!
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Ingredients:
2 brats, sliced thin (reserve the drippings)
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cream or milk
Salt & pepper
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 – 2 cups mashed potatoes
Optional: 2 slices cheese, or 1/2 cup shredded cheese
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Step 1: Cook the brats until they’re done, put into a loaf pan.

Step 2: To drippings, add flour & brown for 2 minutes. Add water, cream, salt & pepper to taste, whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, cook until thickened. Pour the gravy over the brats.

Step 3: In the same pan, add diced vegetable. Cook until tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add the zucchini, squash and onion to the loaf pan.

Step 4: Layer the mashed potatoes on top of everything. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Now you have layered your sausage, gravy, veggies and potatoes. You can brush the top with some melted butter or margarine if you like.

Step 5: Bake in the oven set to 350 for 20 minutes.

Step 6: The gravy and potatoes should be bubbly. I added 2 slices of colby cheese on top and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes to melt.

Step 7: Spoon a big helping onto a plate and enjoy! You can top with extra shredded cheese and salt/pepper if you like.

Delicious, filling and not as bad for you as you might think, assuming you used the potatoes/cauliflower mixture!