Thursday, November 02, 2006
Today is a grayish, -5 C day with a wind that makes it feel ten degrees colder. But I am at home with laundry in the dryer, a big batch of chicken stock in the oven, and a plate of mashed potatoes.
These rich and flavour packed potatoes are an extravagant side dish, but a frugal main course. (Once I did make a simpler, herb free version with lebnah instead of cheese to go with Sam's Boozy Bangers and Mash. Highly recommended.) My favourite way to cook potatoes right now is the microwave, with the dried herbs and salt. Fresh herbs, if you are using them, shouldn't be added until after cooking the potatoes. Whole potatoes are used here because, besides being less trouble than peeling them, the skins are full of nutrients and the things are delicious. I like the potatoes dry with some texture but if you want them creamier you can stir in some hot milk or hot water.
Dice 3 medium potatoes and 2 cloves of garlic - more if you really love garlic. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp thyme (or other dried herb that will complement the cheese you are using) and microwave covered for about six minutes, depending on your microwave. Mash hot potatoes immediately to the desired smoothness and add cheese - up to 2/3 cup if you are using a milder cheese. I used 1/2 cup of goat cheese. When everything is mixed together, taste for salt and seasoning and serve with butter.
Recipes for carb rich, intense main courses often come with airy instructions to serve with a green salad. Salad is not quite the thing here, unless you eat it separately as a starter. You could saute some greens, or make something like the onion and pepper stir fry, or roast some asparagus.