For truly great mashed potatoes one must do more than boil and mash these elegant tubers...

Here are some tricks to make quick, delicious mashed potatoes:

1.) Practice your peeling. Yup, probably the second longest process in making mashed potatoes, is peeling those potatoes. Once you get this down you'll find yourself making quality mashed potatoes in no time. Also start your water boiling while you're peeling.

2.) Cut those buggars up. Cutting the potatoes into smaller (but evenly sized) pieces allows them to cook faster.

3.) Use cream and butter! Really, there are no substitutes for these simple ingredients that just make mashed potatoes into fluffy, creamy heaven on a plate.

Now the basic recipe:
Ingredients:
Potatoes (about 1 1/2 per serving)
Butter (about 1 tbsp. per serving)
Cream (about 2 tbsp. per serving)
Salt
Freshly ground black or white pepper

In a large pot, boil water with a few pinches of salt. Peel your potatoes and cut off any discolored bits. Chop the potatoes into smaller pieces (I usually go about 2" square, roughly). Boil until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Strain well and place into a bowl. Add your butter and cream, mash until smooth, salt and pepper to taste, serve in generous portions.

Easy? Yes! But there are many variations:

For Vegans: Replace the butter and cream with Vegetable stock and truffle or good olive oil.

Roasted Root Vegetable: Take some sweet root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, etc..) peel and dice them, coat them lightly in olive oil and put them on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes (or until fork tender). Mash these in with your potatoes (they will probably not all mash smooth but don't worry about it).

Of course Garlic Mashed Potatoes are simply sex on a plate.

You can add all sorts of things to Mashed Potatoes to liven them up, be wild, go crazy. Mashed potatoes go well with a variety of entrees, and make a great base for spectacular presentation. Use Them!
Two tips for better mashed potatoes:

After straining, don't add liquids before mashing. Allow the mashed potatoes to steam out in peaks just a bit before adding butter/cream/milk. This changes the surface texture of the potato. I think it makes the finished product creamier.

In addition to other standard accoutrements, be sure to use just a hint of white pepper for seasoning. Just a dash for a big pile. Black pepper doesn't go as well IMHO.

When making garlic mash, I'll just pop 4 cloves in with the potatoes while they cook. A touch of dill goes well with garlic. Garlic mash makes the best hash browns too.

Here is a vegan recipe for excellent mashed potatoes. You can have fun with it and try all sorts of wacky variations, but this basic version is wonderful.

5 russet potatoes, cubed
1 medium or 2 small, parsnips, peeled and cubed
1-2 cups, soy milk (Silk™ is best IMHO)
1 vegetable bouillon cube
salt and pepper
1-3 tablespoons, olive oil or margarine (optional)
chopped green onions

Boil potatoes and parsnips in plenty of lightly salted water. There should be enough water to cover the potatoes and parsnips by at least one inch. Although you should peel the parsnips, peeling the potatoes is a matter of personal preference. I usually do not because the skin adds fiber and nutrients while not diminishing the taste or texture. My wife vehemently disagrees. When I make them for her, I do a half-assed job peeling so that 30-50% of the peeling remains. Sometimes she whines, sometimes not. In any case, use russet potatoes. They have a higher sugar content and are just perfect.

When the potatoes are soft enough to easily mash with a fork against the side of the pot, they are done. Dump them in a strainer or colander, but be careful to reserve about a cup of the liquid. Pour the liquid in a mug or small glass and dissolve the bouillon cube in the liquid. Next comes the tricky part where you will make or break your mashed spuds.

Dump the drained potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Pour in the bouillon broth you just made. Then add the oil or margarine if you are choosing to use it. I sometimes do and sometimes do not because the bouillon cube adds so much flavor that the oil or margarine only seems to add fat. YMMV. Add a small amount of salt and pepper.

Now, with an electric hand mixer, begin to whip the potatoes. Start slow and build speed. Gradually add the soy milk, and continue adding until you reach the desired consistency. I like my spuds a little thicker so I don't usually use much soy milk.

Serve with chopped green onions on the side. This recipe serves 2-3 people with healthy appetites. You can adjust the recipe for larger or smaller crowds by figuring 2 potatoes per person plus one.

Variations. As I said before, there are limitless ways to jazz this dish up. As sydnius and LordOmar indicated above, garlic mashed potatoes are great. You can add whole garlic cloves to the other vegetables as they boil, or you can add roasted garlic during the mashing process. I have heard of folks adding jalapeno peppers while mashing. Carrots add color and a certain sweetness. Of course cheese makes everything better but then this ceases to be a vegan dish. Have fun with it.

It's Friday evening. You're rummaging hungrily through your kitchen cabinets when you come across an old bag of potatoes. Just how old is an open question; potatoes kept past a certain age at proper humidity will often attain a indefinite stasis. Not that the tubers are dangerously rotten or moldy or anything, but they've got eyes.

Lots of eyes. A dozen or so medium-sized spuds, all positively arachnoid. Eyes everywhere you turn. Starchy agents of the Gestapo.

These potatoes are long past being suitable for baking. Frying them wouldn't be very wise either. But you hate to waste food. So you grab a paring knife, de-oculate the semi-shriveled starchy veggies, peel them and cut them up into small chunks. Boiling seems the only viable option here. It's been forever since you last had a hearty bowl of mashed potatoes.

So into the pot your newly blind taters go. They cook just fine, turning out nicely soft and mashable. But you don't have any sort of power tool suited for the job, and the collander full of unfinished dinner bodes an awful lot of work with just a fork.





But wait - what about that blender sitting there on the counter? You know it's got a strong motor, and the blades are sharp. It's worth a shot.

You load the blender about halfway with cooked potato chunks and smaller amounts of sundry seasonings and heartiness-enhancers. A job worth doing is worth doing right. So you hold the lid on (tightly!) and hope for the best.

The bottom-most layer of potatoes are quickly mashed (if that's even the right word here). But the higher-residing spuds are staying in place; their solidity and stickiness prevent them from mixing adequately with the already viscous remainder.

A bit of manual squishing improves the blender's performance. At least, it looks like it's running better, although something smells funny. You stop the motor once again and sniff the semi-mashed potatoes. Nothing seems amiss, and they taste great as well. You must be imagining things. A tad more manual assitance ought to let the machine finish its job.

The smell increases, but the blender continues to run, albeit in a somewhat labored manner. The potatoes are thick, after all. So you leave it to its whirring and grinding and cross the kitchen to bring over the next batch of unmashed raw material.

The smell pervades the room. You turn your head to the sight of smoke pouring out from the blender's body. Rushing over, you unplug it and remove the jar full of mostly-mashed potatoes. The smoking doesn't stop, so you carry the ruined, overheated machine outside and toss it in the newly-fallen snow to cool off.

The potatoes turn out to be absolutely delicious; your self-immolated blender had succumbed in pursuit of a worthy goal. But there are plenty of potatoes left to mash, and morning brings funny looks from roomates and neighbors.

It was Sunday morning. We had been up all night at a Hallowe'en psy-trance rave, and by rights should have been collapsed in a corner of our respective rooms bubbling softly and snoring loudly. However. At six that evening, Dan would be catching a coach back to London: he had come home to this city for one night only, one night of psychadelic costumes and furious dancing with his friends. We'd parted company with the others at Clare's mother's house, and come back to mine, where a few weeks previously I'd filled the room with mattresses, sofas and futons in honour of a cocktail night I'd held there. We hadn't eaten in over sixteen hours (although, curiously, we weren't hungry). As time wore on towards early afternoon, and we'd still done nothing but sit there and talk- and this was the first time we'd really had a chance to do so, considering the strangeness of how we became friends- Dan had a bright idea.

Mashed potatoes. He was going to make mashed potatoes.

I was all for going down to the nearest greasy spoon and loading up on grease, but, no, Dan insisted: bangers and mash. A healthy, wholesome meal was what we needed after our crazy night out, apparently. Quorn sausages rather than meat, as I've been vegetarian since I was five. We popped down to the supermarket, and Dan told me how, in the university halls, he would make dinner for whoever wanted it. He advised me to learn how to cook.

Now, I've had many meals made for me, of course I have, but always by my parents and always with a sort of grudging manner about them. This meal was different. Plain, yes: mashed potatoes, quorn sausages, carrots and broccoli, but I'd rather have had that, made by Dan, than any vegan extravaganza concocted by my mother. It was delicious, and made even more so by Dan's company. It isn't easy being friends with your sister's ex.

I've resolved to learn how to cook, perhaps mainly so I can return the favour next time I get a chance to. I've never been so touched by something someone has done for me. And the first thing I'm going to make is mashed potatoes.

- 4 pounds potatoes
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter. Use real butter. Please.
- 2 cups milk
- salt
- white pepper. White pepper keeps the potatoes looking, well, white and much more appealing than black pepper.
- 1 package (8 oz) shredded Mozzarella cheese -- and this is your secret ingredient.

A Kitchenaid or other electric mixer helps greatly with this recipe. There is a LOT of stirring to get the right texture.

Peel, slice, and boil the potatoes.  In the meantime, melt the butter and warm the milk until both are warm to the touch.

Once potatoes are tender when stabbed, remove from heat, pour, and drain. Blend or mash JUST the potatoes--do not add liquid--until they're as smooth as you can get them.  Then add about 2/3 each of the butter and milk.  Add a generous portion of salt and a smaller one of white pepper. Be careful with the white pepper, as it's easy to over-season since you can't see it in the mix like you can with black pepper.  Blend until all liquid is mixed in and potatoes are smooth. 

Now comes the tedious part. You're going to add the cheese, handful by handful.  I keep the mixer running and throw in a clump at a time. Just be careful.  Wait until what you just added has blended, then add more until you've added all the cheese.  Now add the remaining milk and butter.  Blend until smooth.  Taste, and adjust salt and pepper. If they're too thick, heat some more milk and add it. If they're too dry, heat some more butter and add it. When you're satisfied with the taste, blend until the mixture seems to "grow" like bread dough--this is air being folded into the potatoes.  Stop when they look whipped.

The texture will be "stickier" than normal mashed potatoes. They may look "gluey" like a bad batch of normal taters, but if you've done them right when you actually taste them, they are light and very fluffy.

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