Posted by: anniewilson | August 25, 2008

The Amazing Potato!!!

Potatoes are one of my favorite things. I would have been the first Irish person to leave the island after the potato crop failed. I crave them during pregnancies and during times when I’m not pregnant. I love them mashed, fried, hash browned, scalloped…you name it, I love them. This recipe (or group of them) are mainly about mashed potatoes and things that you can do with the leftovers. I use butter, but this is one of the times that margarine would work as well. Also, salt and pepper to your own tastes. I give general guidelines for those who are clueless in the kitchen, but you can always add more if you like.

4-6 medium potatoes (about 4 to 5 inches long, 2-3 inches in diameter).
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of whole milk to begin with, you can add more according to how stiff you like your potatoes.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Whether or not you leave the peel on is your business. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Most of the vitamins are near the skin, so if that’s a consideration, there you go. I’ve read that baked potatoes make the best mashed potatoes but you decide what you like. Even if I am leaving the skin on, I do cut some parts off and I shave any areas that don’t seem to get clean even after scrubbing and rinsing. If you boil the potatoes, first cut them into thirds and then cover the potatoes with one inch of water and bring to boil. Then, turn the temperature down to a simmer for about 30-45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so. That will avoid making potato mush, boiling has the potential to do that. Drain the water out of the potatoes, put the potatoes back in the pot you boiled them in and mash them crudely at first. Add the stick of butter and mash some more. Then, add the milk. You may or may not need to add more milk. Add small bits at a time, you can always add more but you can’t take any out. (By the way, this is why I have a box of instant mashed potato flakes…I sprinkle them into my mashed potatoes if I accidentally put too much milk in them.)

OK, now you have your basic mashed potatoes. Remember to taste them often after you finish to make sure that you have enough salt and pepper in them. Remember to try different consistencies, you can use an electric mixer for really fluffy mashed potatoes, a hand masher and a fork for chunky mashed potatoes…whatever you like best. If you find yourself (as I have, many times) without a potato masher, you can always use the bottom of a heavy glass/cup. A Pyrex measuring cup is good. Then, you just literally mash them. After you add the milk and butter, it should be mashed enough for you to be able to take a fork to it and finish the job.

Every single time that I make mashed potatoes, I make extra so that I can have one of my left-over mashed potato dishes. I have quite a few things that I can do with left-over mashed potatoes, but these are my three favorites:

POTATOE CROQUETS

1 cup mashed potatoes
1 egg
1/4 cup diced onions
fill a tablespoon about halfway with fresh chives (optional)
Salt and pepper
You may or may not like to add shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or colby would do nicely) at this point.

Mash it all up, using your hands until everything is well blended. Shape the mixture into patties, dredge in a well mixed egg and then in bread crumbs. (This step is also optional although it does add a nice, crispy outside to the croquets.) Place coated patties into 3/4 inch of hot olive oil in a 12 inch skillet. Fry on each side for about 5 minutes each. Serve soon after preparing.

TWICE BAKED POTATOES

Begin with above recipe up to adding cheese. With the cheese, you could add a tablespoon of any of the following, or get creative and think of your own additions:

chopped green,
red or yellow peppers
chopped celery
bacon bits, fried or canned
You could pretty much add any chopped meat or fish to the potato mixture.
chopped tomatoes

You can add just about anything you’d like or a mixture of things. Some people may just like cheese or other single ingredient.

Blend the mixture together with your hands. Hopefully, you’ve saved a few potato shells from when you first prepared the mashed potatoes. If not, that’s OK, you can buy small aluminum cups or ramekins. Put the mixture in the cup/potato shells. Cover the potato with cheese, salt and pepper or paprika if you’d like to. Place potatoes on a cookie sheet, whether they’re in a shell, aluminum container or a ramekin. Put the cookie sheet in an oven pre-heated to 350 and leave in there for 30-45 minutes.

POTATO PANCAKES

1 cup mashed potatoes
1/4 cup of diced onions (optional)
salt and pepper
1/8 cup chopped celery (optional)
2 eggs
1 heaping fork full of flour

Mix all ingredients together. Mixture should be the consistency of a cross between pancake batter and Miracle Whip. If it’s too thick, add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Pour batter into olive oil that has been warming while you were preparing the batter. These will be a lot thinner than the croquets so pour them slowly, about a half cup at a time, into hot oil. Make them as large or small as you’d like. Fry on first side for 5 minutes and then turn pancake over (carefully) and fry on other side for another 5 minutes. Take pancake out and set on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

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Responses

  1. mm…nice post about potato. will try these recipes 😉


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