Garlicky Smashed Potatoes

I love potatoes.  I love them any way you can have them.  NO i mean it.  Hash browns, home fries, mashed, baked, fried, salad, any way…  I have about 10 different ways that we make them.  This is my favorite way mashed!  Cause garlic is amazing with potatoes!  They compliment each other well.  Rob doesnt care for mashed potatoes as much as the boys and I do but if he is going to have them, this is the way he wants them!

This recipe came about when I was making salsa one time and had peeled about 4 bulbs of garlic to make my roasted garlic salsa.  I had 20 or so cloves left over and I didnt want them to smell up the fridge so I threw them into the water with the potatoes.  YUMMMMMMMM  yeah those were good!    So now the kiddos ask for them quite often!  They can be a bit time consuming cause of the amount of garlic to peel but they are uber good!   You can also use roasted garlic as well, just throw it up at the end when mashing. 

A note about potato types.  There are russets, white, idaho, red, yukon gold, etc.  I know that different ones have different textures and that makes for a different final product.  To be honest, I am cheap and I buy whatever is on sale.  My favorite to cook with is russets or yukon gold but that being said I never been able to really afford to be picky.  My fave for baking are idaho or russets and for mashed would have be russets or yukon gold.  Here is a great article about types and what is best served for cooking styles.

Some russet/yukon potatoes (I’m feeding three grown men, so I make a 5 lb bag)
2 bulbs of garlic
2 tbsp salt (yes 2 tbsp, its for the boil water, relax)
1/2 cup milk ( I used to use half and half, then started weight watchers haha)
1/2 stick butter (not in picture, I was slacking)
S & P

Cast of Ingredients

First step is the one I hate the most, peeling the garlic.  I hate how my hands get all sticky, but I much prefer the flavor of fresh peeled to the already peeled stuff. 
Then throw them into the pot after you half them.

Peel the potatoes.

Then after you slice/quarter/cube them (which ever works for you… I do thick slices) throw them in the pot with the garlic and cover with hot water.    Add the salt.  ** see disclaimer on salt below…  

Boil until fork tender.

Drain off  but do so over another bowl.   Potato water has many uses but I use it as a thickener in chowders etc.  Just let it boil down at bit more and it concentrates the starches and I put it into soups that have potato in it, like corn or potato chowder. 
You are left with yummy potatoes, with chunks of garlic. YUM

Put in a serving bowl and add the butter.

Then add some pepper and a tiny bit more salt (like 1/2 tsp).

Add the milk.   This isnt an exact amount (well neither is the butter) it depends on how creamy you want them.  I like them a bit more scultpable.. hehe  I usually try to go a bit on the low side.  You can always add more but cant take away.  Making potatoes is like so much else in life.. start off in moderation.  You can cut down on the milk and use some of the potato water as well.  This is good too.

Then beat the hell out of them.  I do like a bit of lump in my potato from time to time but pretty smooth for the most part.

Then serve them up.. trying hard to not eat them by the spoonful as you go.  

These are my favorite with my meatloaf, and a side of peas or corn.  Simple homecooked, comfort food.  These are easy peasy flavorful yumminess.   And now the disclaimer on salt……
**Salt water is what helps you cut down on the amount of salt needed.  When you cook starches (pasta, rice and potatoes) you need the salt to get pulled in while it is cooking.  If you wait and just do salt when finishing, it sits on the starches and you need more to get the same flavor.  SOOOOOOOOO salt the water.  Start off with one tablespoon the first time you do it.  Then you can add more the next time you do them.

Hope you enjoy…

Happy Cooking!!


Passings and Changes

This past weekend my beloved Grandmother Carrie died.  She was a strong force for good ass kicking in my life.  She wouldnt listen to me whine and she wouldnt listen to me get upset.  She would tell me that things happen and you have to move on!  She would say “Kim, if wishes were horses we all would ride” but she knew that most of us were the foot shoulders of life and sitting here wishing for life to be different was useless.  She wanted me to get out and MAKE it different!  Wishing for life to change was futile.  With her I knew where I stood.  I knew that no matter what she supported me. 

I would call her 3-4 mornings a week on my way to work.  She would always say, gonna be late arent you.  Would it be me if I was on time?  LOL She was one of the best people in my life.  She taught me that people arent always what you expect and you have to take them as they are.  She taught me how to rule the kitchen.  Mom is the same so that lesson will continue to be learned.  She taught me to see life as something that you can not take for granted.  Gram had about 20 lives.  I think she used to steal them from the local cats.  She was larger than life and a force to be reckoned with.   I hope that there is a glimmer of her in me. 

She was so proud of me for finishing school and she is part of the reason I did.  She was sick (her and my other Gramma D) and I wanted to try to make sure that I would be there for other people who needed someone to love them while they healed.  Until today I had my heart set on working in the hospital setting.  My neighbor works at a nursing home and said she would help me try to get in where she works.  I was putting it off.. but this weekend while my grandmother was in that bed slowly dying, it was affecting the nurses on that unit.  She had been there so many times she was family.  Two of the nurses/aides/etc were there on their day off to sit the vigil.  She had about 15 people who were hospital employees stop by to check on her.  And alot of the staff were saddened greatly by her passing.  She was surrounded by love even when her family couldnt be there.  I want to repay those nurses by doing the same for someone else.  I havent heard about any of the other jobs I have applied for, this may be what I am supposed to do.

I hope Gram is up there baking and giving everyone hell.  She was a force in this life and I am sure she will be in the afterlife as well.  Miss you Gram..  and love you always..