Monday, October 4, 2010

Seriously, mashed potatoes are divine...

Why didn't anyone tell me?

I love making mashed potatoes. I mean, who doesn't love taking their daily aggressions out on their food? Smashing garlic, mashing potatoes, pounding down meat...seriously.

And there so many fun ways to make them! Red potatoes, fingerling potatoes, russet on, skin off...half-and-half, sour cream...butter, olive oil...

Okay, okay,  maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here. I'm sorry. Really, I am. I just get so excited when it comes to carbohydrates.

Hello, my name is Kristen, and I'm a carb junkie...a carbo queen...

Seriously though, who isn't? Here is one of my favorite ways to make the notorious mashed 'taters. 

Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

The roasted garlic and olive oil in these potatoes add a great deal of creaminess to the potatoes, which makes for a healthier way to cream up your mashed potatoes without adding those unhealthy ingredients like heavy cream and butter!

1 head of garlic
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 or 5 good-sized red potatoes, skin on
a pinch of salt
one big ole' pot of water
(optional: 1/4 cup of grated pecorino romano)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the (just barely) the top part of the head of garlic, making sure to expose each clove of garlic. Nestle head of garlic, cut side up, in some aluminum foil. Pour a generous amount of olive oil, about a tablespoon or so, over the exposed cloves. Wrap the cloves up well and place in the oven to roast for about 30 minutes.

In the mean time, quarter your red potatoes (I prefer skin on, but this is really to your own preference...I say, give it a try once and see how you like it...besides, all the good nutrients are in the potato skins!) into relatively uniform pieces to insure even cooking and place in a pot of cold water.  Add a heavy pinch of salt to cooking water and turn burner on high. Once water comes to a boil cook potatoes for ten minutes. Strain once knife goes into potatoes without resistance. 

Mash the potatoes to your liking (I like to leave them a tad bit chunky) and add about two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Remove the garlic from the oven and using heat proof gloves, if you have them (otherwise, let the garlic cool), pinch the base of the head of garlic, and then moving upward to push the now soft cloves out of their papery skin. 

(Note: You know your garlic has been successfully roasted if the cloves are brownish in color and very soft and sticky. They should be able to be mashed into a paste very easily.)

Add the roasted garlic to the mashed potatoes and season with a pinch of salt to your liking, and enjoy!!

Note: If you like Italian cheese as much as I do add a bit of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano to your potatoes. I promise, it's delicious!


Don't have time to slow roast a head of garlic? Why not slowly saute some chopped garlic in the olive oil until lightly golden brown while the potatoes are cooking. This will impart some delicious flavor as well, and in a far faster time!

Want to skip the oil? Roasted garlic can help make your mashed potatoes creamy and healthy, but don't want to roast them in the oven? Break up the head of garlic with skins still on the cloves and dry roast them in a skillet over medium heat until black/brown spots appear on the skins. Remove from pan, cool slightly and remove skins. Mash with some kosher salt and you have a great add-in to your mashed potatoes!

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