Thursday, December 1, 2011
Mashed Red Skinned Potatoes with Fresh Dill and Sour Cream...
With the holiday season comes business, and with business inevitably comes exhaustion, which unfortunately is exactly what I’ve been experiencing since Thanksgiving. As much as I hate being absent from the blog, especially when I have so many things I’m dying to share with you, health and sanity always come first, and so this past week I’ve been relaxing and taking it easy when I’ve been at home. I haven’t really even been all that creative in the kitchen. Cooking more from cookbooks then my own imagination and even slacking on that front by forgetting to have my camera handy at meal times. I’m hoping that now after my period of rest things can finally get back on track and I wanted to start things off with sharing a dish I made a couple of weeks ago.
Have you ever found yourself craving a food you haven’t eaten or even thought about in years? Well that’s exactly what happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I was sitting at home plainly minding my own business when all of a sudden I got a craving for mashed potatoes. Not just your ordinary garden variety mashed potatoes mind you but a very specific sort, of which I hadn’t had since I was a child. Let the back story begin!
In the summer of 96 I went with my Oma to Minneapolis to visit my aunt who was living there at the time. We did a lot of fun stuff while we were there but a lot of it has escaped me now since I was so young and the trip was so long ago. One thing however that I guess has always stuck with me is a particular side dish that my aunt’s husband made with dinner one night. He is by all accounts quite proficient in the kitchen and I remember being particularly blown away by his ‘upscale’ version of mashed potatoes. I don’t know where he got the recipe, I can’t recall detail for detail everything that went into it, and though I know now that it isn’t unheard of to do this kind of thing with mashed potatoes, at the time it was new, exciting and amazing to me. I think up until that point I’d always considered mashed potatoes to strictly be a winter food, suitable only when served alongside a roast or turkey, and certainly never without a generous helping of thick brown pan gravy.
But this take on mashed potatoes opened my young eyes to a world of possibilities, and even though I haven’t thought about that dish, or that moment for years it must have stuck with me. For two weeks ago I found myself salivating at the very idea of trying to re-create it. Who knows why these unconnected little moments stick with us, or why they float to the surface unannounced and unbidden years later. One thing I do know however is that they often provide some much needed creative stimulation.
Now I have no idea what actually went into my aunt’s husbands original recipe, all I recall are a few flavor notes. Garlic, dill and sour cream. So from there I worked with the memory of my tastebuds and did my best to recreate a flavor from the past. I have to say I did a pretty damn good job of recreating the flavor I remember, though whether this recipe bares any resemblance to the one that inspired it I couldn’t say. Likely it doesn’t, but it is extremely satisfying and delicious. Even my husband gobbled it up with unbridled zeal, a surprise indeed considering he doesn’t like sour cream in the least, non-dairy or otherwise.
Though as good as these mashed potatoes are, before you dare to embark on making them - and I do dare you - I believe a word of warning is in order. These mashed potatoes most definitely fall under the category of ‘comfort food’ not ‘health food’ but trust me when I say they are so worth it!
Mashed Red Skinned Potatoes with Fresh Dill and Sour Cream
2 lb Red Skinned Potatoes, peel left on and quartered
1/4 Unsweetened Almond Milk
½-1 C Non-dairy Sour Cream (or to taste) (I used Wayfare which is Dairy-Free, Soy-free, Gluten-Free and Non-GMO)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
1 Large bunch Dill finely minced (or to taste)
4-8 Cloves Garlic, crushed, minced or pressed (to taste, or garlic powder to taste)
1 tsp Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Dash Onion Powder to taste
1/4-1/2C Diced Green Onion for Garnish (or to taste)
- Since you are leaving the skin on these potatoes you must wash them very well, and scrub every nook of possible dirt. Once washed quarter them and place them in a pot of salted boiling water.
- While potatoes are boiling saute garlic over medium-high heat in 1 tsp of olive oil until fragrant and golden. About 5-8 minutes.
- When potatoes are fork tender, drain and return to pot. Add the sauteed garlic, Earth Balance, Almond milk and 1/2C of non-dairy sour cream. Using a handheld blender whip potatoes until they are broken down and creamy. Because of the skin they will not be entirely smooth, there will be lumps but that’s what you want!
- Taste and add salt, pepper, and a dash of onion powder to taste. If not garlicky enough for your taste add a few dashes of garlic powder as well. If not creamy enough or not sour creamy enough add in more sour cream 1/4 C at a time until you reach desired taste and consistency. Blend again until all spices have been combined.
- Add minced dill and blend until incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- When ready to serve garnish with the chopped green onions and enjoy!
PS: I think the raw chopped green onions give the potatoes a really nice texture and flavor, so if you’re like me feel free to use more.
PPS: Apologies for the poor lighting. My kitchen is a bit dark, gloomy and slightly ‘golden’ once the sun goes down. I do try my best but sometimes even that is no match for bad lighting.