Came across this weirdly interesting video this morning: 

Aligot is basically cheese and mashed potatoes, but it seems closer to fondue than anything I’m used to.  Not sure if this is an extreme preparation of the dish but, all the same, I am…unconvinced.  

My favorite version of mashed potatoes follows a recipe by the late Chef Joel Robuchon.  It’s basically Yukon Gold potatoes – and an insane amount of butter.  Oh, and a touch of milk and salt to taste.

Not all potatoes are created equally, especially when it comes to making a good mash.  It’s been my experience that you want to go Yukon or Russet because the starchier yellow or reds tend to yield a pastier consistency.

I’m also not above mixing things up with the occasional dab of mascarpone or chopped green onions.  I know some people do crumbled bacon, but I’m not a huge fan.  A friend once likened its addition to cheating.  Of course it tastes better!  It’s bacon!     

So, all of you home cooks – I’m curious.  What is YOUR secret to a good mash?  Creamy or chunky?  Butter or olive oil?  Cheddar?  Garlic and rosemary?  Sweet potatoes or yams?  Dish!

Three days until we leave for L.A. and I’m already wound up, prepping my pitch and booking my meetings.  Akemi (who as far as I can tell, will spend the entirety of the trip at Trader Joe’s while I’m doing my thing), has already started packing.  The dogs realize something is up and have been extra needy – and, at times, I’d go so far as to say downright disdainful in their side-eyeing of the suitcase.  We’ll be dropping them off with our amazing dog-sitter Saturday night, but I am a little worried.  Lulu loves the sleepovers and is fine with other dogs, but she is REALLY having trouble getting around.  So much so that she’s having to depend on the wheelchair more and more.  Suji, on the other hand, is a little firecracker and exceptionally mobile – but suffers from separation anxiety.  Hoping they’ll both behave.

Finally – Wow, this Stargate: Atlantis Greatest Episode Tournament has been full of surprises.  Eight episodes will battle it out for the crown and we’re just finalizing our last two wildcard entries.  It looks like Siege Part 2 is about to eliminate Grace Under Pressure and Vegas.  Vegas!  I’d consider that an upset.

Tomorrow, meanwhile, three episodes will battle it out for the final wildcard spot in the tournament.  It’ll be The Shrine vs Tabula Rasa vs Letters From Pegasus.

Who ya got?

14 thoughts on “September 19, 2019: The secret to a good mash!

  1. As much as I like cheese, my lactose intolerance says whatever it is in that video is just too much.

    My favourite mashed potatoes are just a combination of good old New Brunswick (or PEI) white potatoes with a good dollop of butter, a little milk, a touch of pepper and salt, and then mashing it to the point it’s completely lump free. Even a little creamy if I have the patience and mashing stamina. Just like my mom used to make ’em! If find the yellow varieties of potatoes inconsistent in their quality of washability. Some work great and then the same brand will be lumpy and watery. Different ages of potatoes, I suppose.

    I’m very sad to hear that Lulu is having a harder time getting around. She’s a tough old gal though, so I’m hoping it’s a fairly temporary setback. I’m sure they’ll do fine with the sitter.

    Siege 2 beating Vegas? Um, okay. I mean they’re both great but, I mean, VEGAS!

    Have a great time (and good luck) on the LA trip!

  2. Being an Irish household, ours is Champ. Boil the chopped spring onions (“scallions!!”) in some milk for a few minutes, then mix the onions into the potatoes and use the milk to help mash them.

    Nothing special… traditional. Lovely!!

  3. My favorite mashed potato recipe is very much like yours. Russet/Yukon with cream, butter, salt and pepper. Mascarpone is harder to find here, so i use cream cheese instead. I’ve started steaming my potatoes in an instant pot. It’s much easier than boiling on the stove top. Nine minutes, in a steamer basket and the potatoes are soft and ready to mash. I prefer smooth potatoes.

    I know it’s hard leaving the girls. They are so lucky to have you both.

  4. I like mine creamy, definitely with butter!
    Hope the girls will have relatively uneventful days while you are away.

  5. If you go to a supermarket here in Australia (well, Melbourne at least) you’ll be presented with “White Potatoes” and “Red Potatoes”. Sometimes they’ll be marked as “All Rounder” (lies!) or “Perfect for roasting” (maybe) but good luck if you want a specific variety of potato. Alas, I don’t live near a market where I can get decent potatoes so I’m stuck playing potato roulette at the supermarket.

    Anyway, my usual mash recipe is simply a knob off butter and a pinch of salt. If I have some cream in the fridge I’ll put some of that in, too. If we’re feeling extra decadent we’ll put some grated parmesan or cheddar in it. I like my mash to be smooth and creamy but my girlfriend likes it light and fluffy. What I actually end up making depends on whether I “accidentally” put too much cream in. 🙂

    I’m keen to try Joel’s recipe but it is an INSANE amount of butter!

  6. My mash starts with 4-5 large baker sized russett potatoes peeled and quartered I boil them in regular sodium chicken stock/broth till fork tender then I use 2-3 sticks of real butter not margerine and sour sour cream maybe about a cups worth with a splash of milk to keep them from being to thick and salt and fresh ground black letter to taste.

  7. Our pups never cared if we were there or not. The two of them loved all people & my feelings would get hurt when we went to pick them up and they barely noticed us. Our one cat though. Gah. The minute a suitcase came out he started puking from anxiety. So we wouldn’t pack until the night before and try to keep a room closed off so he couldn’t see. That was heartbreaking. The others are okay but the pictures I have of our various cats sleeping inside the husbands suitcase is up there.

  8. Yukon Gold, butter, half and half or heavy cream (depending on your level of artery roulette), roasted garlic cloves. Hand mixer until smooth. Although sometimes I like a little chunk. On the off chance I use reds, I leave the skins on for additional texture.

  9. I like mine creamy and buttery.
    Hopefully the gals will be fine with their sitter while you are away.

  10. Oh yes, I agree! That is exactly how I love my mashed potatoes. If we do a baked potato, we do the sour cream, bacon bits, cheese of some kind, butter, green onions (which I can have–I just can’t have raw onions other than green onions–do not ask why–my body is not normal. I’ll have to try marscapone (love it in cannolis) . We also found a recipe that told you how to keep the skins soft and really great to eat in the baked potato–it involves putting melted butter on the outside skin and then rubbing it in kosher salt and slow cooking it at 325 degree Fahrenheit for I want to say 1-1/2 hours. I’ll have to check that. We only have it once or twice a year. It’s a calorie nightmare.

    So glad you found an amazing pet sitter. I definitely missed too many blogs. I didn’t know Lulu was using a wheelie now.

    We wound up being lucky with Tropical Storm Imelda. We got I think a total over 48 hours of 8 inches; towns to the east of Houston got like 36 inches and most of that fell in 4-6 hours but it is a 72-hour total. That’s crazy. Homes that didn’t flood in Hurricane Harvey flooded this time. And a major section of our interstate (I-10) is closed over the San Jacinto bridge due to some barges that got loose and damaged the bridge. They have no idea how soon it will be rebuilt. I don’t envy anyone having to travel I-10 and do not know about this until they get here.

    I got tired of listening to The Weather Channel people say they just didn’t know how to reach people (after they saw all the stranded motorists in Houston). They said we were warned, everyone knew it was coming yet they went to work. I sent two tweets to them that the reason why people go to work is when their employer tells them that if they do not come to work don’t bother coming back at all, you kind of have no choice. Also our school district cancelled school at 7 a.m. They pick up high school students at 6:15 a.m. and elementary school starts at 7:30 a.m. so parents likely dropped their kids off (if they didn’t put them on the bus) and went into the mandatory work call. Then the parents likely couldn’t get home so the poor kid is stuck at the school with all the teachers who couldn’t get home when the rivers covered the roads. Until employers change their attitudes about this, this will continue to happen. Short-sighted I think.

  11. I quit eating white potatoes years ago, the nightshade thing. I love mashed sweet potatoes, but have never made them successfully myself. Sweet potato casserole is yummy, but it is mostly crustless sweet potato pie with extra crumble and butter. Still, here’s my take on my mom’s sweet candied sweet potatoes. You can tell we’re originally Californians…

    In a cast iron skillet, melt half a stick of butter. Butter, nothing else. Throw in a couple generous handfuls of soft brown sugar. Add a tablespoon or two of pineapple juice, not too much. Sprinkle on cinnamon and powdered ginger, and I like a touch of ras al hanout. When it gets a little bubbly, add two small drained cans of sweet potatoes, and about half a cup of drained pineapple tidbits. You can use crushed, but it gets sloppy, and chunk is too big. Turn very gently, stirring too much will make it too mushy. When it comes to a bubble, add a teaspoon of cornstarch to a tablespoon of water or juice, ,ix, add in a few teaspoons of the hot liquid from the pan, mix into the pan and turn gently until mixed in. Bring back up to a bubble, the lower the heat to cook it through, about ten minutes. You can cover it if you prefer a runnier “sauce”.

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