Fun twists on the classic mashed potatoes

I am really not a starch fan, because I always feel like being deprived of my chances to enjoy other foods as I get filled up so quickly on even a few bits of starchy food. But with some small twists, starchy foods can go from blandly filling to deliciously satisfactory. Here is on how to make mashed potatoes with some fun twists.

Ingredients: (yield 4 servings)
4-5 medium-large potatoes, peeled, chopped into large bite-sized chunks
2-3 Heirloom carrots, chopped into small bits (if the carrot is large, 1 should suffice)
4-5 cremini mushrooms, finely chopped or minced
1/3 onion, chopped into small bits
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 stick of butter
3-5 tbsp of milk (or add small amount first and add more depending on how you like the texture)
1 tbsp of olive oil
pinch of ginger powder
Salt and pepper

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Boil water in a pot. Put in all the potatoes and cook for about 30-40 min. Use a fork and see if you can poke through effortlessly to determine if the potatoes are completely cooked.

When the potatoes have about 5-8 min to go, heat up olive oil in a pan in medium-high heat. Add the garlic, the carrots, and the onions. Cook for about 3-4 min until the onions are translucent and if you chopped the carrots fine enough, they should be soft as well. Add the mushrooms, the ginger powder, a tbsp of butter, salt and pepper and stir to mix well. You want to be a little heavy with the seasoning as the seasoning will cover the potatoes as well. Cook for another minute. Turn the heat off and pour everything into a bowl for later use.

When the potatoes are completely cooked, drain the water and put the potatoes back into the pot on very low heat. Start mashing with the potato masher. When the potatoes look somewhat mashed up, add the rest of the butter, and start mashing away as the potatoes continue to break down and mix with the melting butter. Start slowly adding the milk and continue mashing. Add every from the bowl into the pot of the potatoes and mix well. Mash the potatoes or add more milk until it reaches your desired consistency.

And it is ready to serve. The color of the mashed potatoes is so much more appetizing as it now has the yellow, orange, red from Heirloom carrots (why I chose them at the first place) and the earthy brown from the mushrooms! I served this mashed potatoes with the fun twists along with medium New York strip steak and some sautéed green vegetables. So delicious! 🙂

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Winter Roasted Root Vegetables

Feeling a little lazy on a snowy night? If you stock up assorted root vegetables like I do, then this recipe is for you! 🙂

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I make this dish so often in winter with ever changing items every time so you do NOT have to stick to the recipe strictly, be CREATIVE (the key is to bear in mind whatever you put in may require different cooking times)!

Often used ingredients: (yield 4 meals)
3-4 large Yukon/Sweet/Red/… potatoes, or equivalent amount of fingerling heirloom potatoes, chopped into small bite-sized chunks
2-4 large carrots, chopped into bite-sized chunks
2-3 golden beets, chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 handful of broccoli including roots, chopped into bite-sized chunks, separate the roots and the flower parts
(If you have turnips, daikon radish, etc., feel free to add on, they need a little less time than potatoes and carrots to cook)
1/2-2/3 of a large onion, chopped
A few mushrooms, chopped
(Sometimes I add chopped green beans, Brussel sprouts, eggplants, just about any vegetables that can stand some heat without becoming a pile of soft leaves or a pot of juices/water)
One cured wild boar sausage, chopped (I prefer using cured hard sausages to add a little savory and fatty flavor to the food, but any cooked meat bits will do)
Olive oil
2-3 tsp of butter
Half a handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp of Oregano
1/2 tsp of Thyme
Salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 400-450F and oil your baking tray with olive oil. Throw in the first batch of root vegetables that require the longest cooking time – potatoes, carrots, broccoli roots, and beets. Allow them to cook for 25-30 minutes.

While the hardest vegetables are in the oven, heat a pan and add olive oil. Add the meat bits, the mushrooms, and the onions, stir fry until the meat is cooked or the onion turns translucent.

Add the softer vegetables, such as green beens, eggplants (you might want to pre-cook the eggplants along with the onions and mushrooms in the above step because heating without much oil tends to dry out eggplants), broccoli flower parts together with the first batch. Add the oregano, thyme, rosemary, and butter and stir the vegetables so that the spices distribute evenly and mix well. Use a fork to poke the potatoes and carrots, they should start to be tender and relatively easy to poke through if not already so. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the meat, the mushrooms and the onions last and add salt and pepper to taste. And stir to mix well. The carrots, the broccoli roots, the potatoes or the beets should be really tender now. Cook for another 10 minutes or so.

And Viola, you are ready to serve! Nothing on a cold snowy night beats a warm and healthy meal with prepping under 15 min and watching TV for 45 min. 😛

Thanks for checking in!