Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gift Potatoes

Oddest thing happened last Friday.

The hubby came home from work (I beat him home) carrying a sack of potatoes.

Turns out, one of their vendors or something-or-other gave potatoes as a Christmas gift this year. So on Friday, a potato truck rolled up outside their office, and everyone's eyes went alight with childish glee as they accepted a sack of potatoes (or, at least, I assume that is kinda how it went).

The hubby has one of those jobs that is kinda old-school and they are always getting tons of office gifts around the holidays from vendors and other companies they work with and stuff (a favorite always being the guy who brings in a Box of Booze Bottles and lets everyone pick among them... for years we always got a wonderful box of Christmas wrapping papper and matching bows, almost every year the hubby comes home at some point in late December with a two-pound log of liver sausage, we've gotten chocolate and caviar, etc., etc.). Most I have ever gotten was at one place I worked where they gave out a turkey to everyone at Thanksgiving and Christmas. And sadly, a rather small turkey that really couldn't feed more than a few people, so I always gave it to my dad so he could fry it.

At least they are "local" potatoes... actually from up on the other side of the cheddar curtain (aka Wisconsin).

And I thought it was odd back in '05 when a new produce mart opened over here, and although I refused a free case of bananas, they slipped one into my cart anyway when I wasn't looking while they bagged my groceries (I was actually kinda pissed... I had to haul that case up three flights of stairs to the then-apartment, and when you only have two people in the house, it's hard to go through a case of bananas. Thankfully, I always work with software engineers, and software engineers will gladly eat anything that is labeled "FREE FOOD" without question and I got to unload some of them at work).

I didn't cook on Friday, but on Saturday while I was running around trying to cram in Christmas shopping with all my usual Saturday errands, I picked up a roasted chicken at Sam's Club, with the intention of serving that for dinner.

And some of our gift potatoes.

But, don't gift potatoes really deserve slightly better treatment than just being thrown in the oven to be baked??

Bring on the Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly (surprise!) since I wasn't making that huge of an amount of potatoes for just the two of us, and I didn't have half & half on hand. But I do keep heavy cream on hand. I guessed about a cup of heavy cream, and a half cup of water. And I only used the original 4 tablespoons of butter to cook the garlic, and didn't bother with more at the end. Trust me, they didn't need it.

Garlic, cooking away in butter....

Then you add the cream and water, and bring that to a simmer....

Add your potatoes, and back to simmer...

And then you cover, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
About halfway through, I was totally concerned that it was too much liquid. I mean... just look!!

I tried to think of ways to skim off some of the liquid, but it really wasn't going to work. So, I just said a prayer to the cooking gods and grabbed my potato masher, and hoped for the best.

One thing I *love* about America's Test Kitchen recipes is that as odd as they sometimes seem... they really do work. I had some faith in this recipe - I think they're the ones that got me doing my sweet potatoes in pretty much the same way, cook them in a little liquid rather than boil them - but I was still doubtful. But I must admit, they whipped up into some damned fine mashed taters.

Not runny, absolutely wonderful with the cream and butter. Sure, you do still have to dirt up a strainer to wash the starch off the potatoes before you start, but it's just so much easier to cook them all in one pot like this.
So thank you, vendor, for the gift potatoes. They were wonderful.

1 comment:

Scarehaircare said...

In Idaho, it's traditional to welcome a new family in the neighborhood with a 25 lb bag of Idaho bakers as a housewarming gift. I thoguht it was nuts when we received them. But maybe, just maybe, our eyes did light up with childish glee.....