For those of you on Face Book, then you know how FB will show you something you’ve posted from the past and ask you if you want to share it again. Most of those I’ve seen shared by family are photos and cute stories. Nearly all my “memories” are recipes and cooking tips – some long before my blogging days. (The biggest reason I started blogging in the first place was because my personal Face Book account was so full of recipes and tips). This is one that popped up today, and I thought I’d pass it along . . . good advise.
Way back in the day of Cook Books with entire sections dedicated to household tips and advise for the “little woman”, there were a good many tips that you simply don’t find in today’s cook books. For the woman (or man) of today, you need to read these books with an open mind, as some of the things simply do not apply – such as how to fetch your husband’s slippers and pipe – if you can believe that! And oh my goodness, make sure your makeup is fresh and you greet your husband with a smile, his favorite cocktail in hand.
The key to a good mashed potato begins at the market – selecting the variety. While there are a lot of potatoes to pick from, here are tips for the most common and their usage:
Yukon gold potatoes are the result of crossbreeding a North American white potato with a wild South American yellow-fleshed variety.
-Originated in Canada and made its way to the U.S. in the early 1980s.
-Waxy, pale, yellow flesh with firm texture.
-Great for roasting and frying, and works well in soups, stews, and gratins.
-Smooth, light-tan skin with medium starch level.
-Dense, creamy in texture, and holds its shape well after cooking.
-All-purpose potato: Great for roasting, baking, steaming, and boiling.
-Red, rosy skin, but can have white, yellow, or even red flesh.
-Firm, smooth, moist texture.
-Are well-suited for salads, roasting, boiling, and steaming.
-Smaller reds are referred to as “new potatoes,” meaning they’re harvested before reaching maturity.
-Most widely used variety in the United States.
-Characterized by netted brown skin and white flesh.
-High starch content and fluffy interior makes them ideal for baking, mashing, and making french fries.
Russet Potatoes make the best mashed potatoes. The higher the starch content; the fluffier the mashed potatoes. (Although I will admit, I like reds or whites, too).
There are a 3 basic steps to mashed potato success, regardless of recipe directions.
1. Salt the water. Place enough salted water in the pan to cover the potatoes, there’s no need to drowned them. Let the potatoes and water come to temperature together.
2. After draining potatoes, return to pan and “dry” potatoes over medium heat until cooking liquid has evaporated. Dry potatoes mash cleaner than wet-ones. Besides, the extra water only dilutes the wonderful flavor of the smashed studs.
3. Heat milk, cream, butter or whatever else you are adding to potatoes before combining them. Pouring cold milk or adding cold butter will cool the potatoes as well. Unless your recipe calls for big plate of cold mashed potatoes, it’s never a good idea.