Ah, comfort foods. Whether you’re snowed in with the winter blues, sick as a dog, or suffering from a sadness that only carbs can fix, comfort foods make us feel warm and relaxed. I had a painful run-in with the dentist this weekend, so not only am I craving a little comfort, but something soft and mushy… and potatoey, and buttery… Ok, I’ll stop drooling now. It’s mashed potato time!
And of course, what’s more comforting than knowing that you’ve bought local, quality ingredients to add to your dish as well? Comfort foods should be as easy to make, as they are pleasing to eat. The great thing about mashed potatoes is, there’s no exact science to it.
Peel your potatoes (7 russet potatoes makes about 5-6 servings) and cut them into medium sized chunks. Boil for about 25 minutes, or until soft. Add in small doses salt, milk product, and butter product (I use soy milk and Earth Balance margerine). Mash, and experiment with the ingredients until you’ve got the desired consistency and flavor.
While I tend to be a bit of a potato purist, I know that the same old thing can get a little bland after a while, so here are three mashed potato varieties:
Garlic and Chive Potatoes:
Follow the same basic mashed potato recipe. About the same time you boil the potatoes, you’re going to roast up some garlic.
Take a whole bulb and chop off the end without the stem so that the top of each clove of garlic is exposed. Drizzle the top in olive oil. Wrap in foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
After you’ve begun mashing the potatoes and the garlic has cooled you’ll be able to squeeze out the garlic, like a paste into the mixture. Throw in some chopped chives and you’re all set.
Edamame Mashed Potatoes:
Crazy, right? This is one of those dishes that sounds fancy but is super easy. Again, follow the basic mashed potato recipe.
You’ll also need 1/2 cup shelled edamame, 1 clove of chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon chopped ginger, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, some ground black pepper.
Throw those ingredients into a food processor (or blender) while the potatoes boil and add in when you mash them.
If you like a little kick, throw some wasabi powder in there too.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
Another dish that’s so easy, but so rich that people will think you slaved over it.
For these you’ll want to leave the skin on at first. Take 6-7 sweet potatoes and rub them with oil.
Place them uncovered on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 425 degrees.
Once they’ve cooled, start mashing them up, removing large pieces of skin as you go.
Add in 3/4 cup of coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil and mash away!
I know the tradition is “meat and potatoes” but as an alternative, I like to serve mine alongside some big grilled portobello mushrooms. Stay tuned for upcoming posts in which I’ll be covering more comfort foods. Can vegans heat up a comparable mac-n-cheese? You’ll have to check back to find out…