Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mashed Potatoes

Oh those mashed potatoes, how good they taste with gravy on top. For Christmas we had smoked turkey. One of those we smoked ourselves last year. And if you have turkey you have to have potatoes and gravy. But, if you aren't careful the gravy can be too smokey and salty so the trick we've learned is to use a generous helping of potato water. The stuff you just drained off the boiled potatoes. It imparts added nutrients that washed away from the potatoes along with enriching the water with flavor. A little flour or corn starch to thicken the mixture of turkey drippings and potatoe water and voila you've a rich gravy to complement the smoked turkey. If you've gravy left over and all are tired of eating it then don't throw it away it makes a good sauce inside a smoked turkey pot pie. Yum!!
And, those potatoes are good in pancake batter, or in bread.
But, the tip I wanted to share with you today was one I gathered from a Martha Stewart magazine. Her mother always added a little cream cheese to her mashed potatoes. I've been doing the same for a year now and I love the way it changes the texture adding a greater body and consistency. It doesn't change the taste because so little is added. For eight large, though not restaurant sized baked potato size, potatoes I add 1 1/2 ounces of cream cheese, three tablespoons of butter, and about an eighth cup of milk. You will have to adjust the milk to the moisture level of your potatoes.
And for you smarty pants, no, I did not measure accurately. It was more of a nice plop or two of this and a dollop of that. Though this time and probably this time only, I did keep an eye on the approximate amounts I used of each ingredient except the potatoes of course and those I should of peeled more of since they were gobbled up quick. I had to scrounge this little amount of left overs to photograph for my blog post threatening anyone if they ate them before the camera came out. This morning was as soon as I could get to that task.
For my mother-in-law who was asking about my village scene, here it is. She was questioning because I bought on a Christmas clearance sale yesterday a pine tree that had lots of character along with a figurine of a man with a gun over his shoulder and a hunting dog running along side him. Had to have that one since our son is an avid hunter. His bird dog isn't the same breed but one can't be too picky or they wouldn't have a figurine at all.
I display it in the old kitchen cupboard in the living room.
On the top shelf is the country scene with the barnyard, the middle shelf has the school; forge shop, (have to have one of those for Kirk since he's a blacksmith or rather a blade smith); and a livery stable for his great grandpa who owned one in Illinois many years ago. The bottom shelf is a section of town with the church prominently on display. On the far left is a small nativity scene that sets next to it. There isn't much more I can add without making it appear cluttered but I just couldn't pass up the pine tree and the figurine.
I hope you all are enjoying the leftovers. Ours will be gone by tonight and I'll have to start cooking once more. I'm told tonight we're having crepes. With my gift certificate from a kitchen store I bought a crepe pan. Should be easier than using the cast iron fry pan. We'll soon find out. I'm thinking omelets might be pretty good in the crepe pan also.

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