Posts Tagged ‘Mashed potato’

The frost we had earlier this week pretty much killed off most of what was left of summer’s glory.  The pink begonias were black and the remaining basil turned brown.  I had already cut back the peonies and the day lilies and today I cut back the peppermint and we put covers on the patio furniture and the grill.  With Thanksgiving around the corner it’s a little strange to see the last few geraniums blooming by the back door and have a gourd and maize arrangement in the living room.  The seasons may be merging, global warming notwithstanding.  I can remember Thanksgivings that were bitter cold and some years we had snow.  Not sure what’s in store for us this year weather-wise and wonder if there will still be some “color” left in the yard besides the leaves from our neighbor’s tree.  FLASHBACK TO FORWARD.


Shades of September

Shades of September


Ghoulish October

Ghoulish October


YES Geraniums in November

YES Geraniums in November


Gourdish November

Gourdish November

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Ocean Spray Craisins brand dried cranberries

Ocean Spray Craisins brand dried cranberries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know it seems unlikely that anybody would NOT want  love mashed potatoes with their Thanksgiving turkey, but it’s true. And for those guests and any Vegans at your table, you might want to include this really neat dish.  It’s seasonal, textural and nutritious.



2 cups wild rice

2 cups wheat berries, soaked in 3 cups water overnight and drained

3/4 cup dried cranberries

2 TBS canola oil or other neutral oil

6 medium or 3 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and in large dice (3 cups)

Freshly ground pepper

1  1/2 cups chopped walnuts

2 small shallots, minced

2 TBS chopped flat leaf parsley

2 TBS walnut oil

Bring two medium pots salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add wild rice to one and wheat berries to another, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes for wild rice and 20 to 25 minutes for wheat berries.

While grains cook, put cranberries to small bowl, and cover with hot water.  Soak 15 minutes, drain, and chop.  Set aside.

Heat canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat  Add mushrooms, and sauté stirring frequently, until mushrooms soften and begin to release their liquid, 8 to 10 minutes.  Season lightly with salt and pepper, and transfer to a warm serving bowl.  Stir in walnuts, shallots, parsley and cranberries.

When grains are tender, drain them, and add them to bowl.  Drizzle with walnut oil, and toss gently.  Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 6-8 servings


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With only 8 days left to Thanksgiving, I hope you have ordered your turkey already, made out your grocery lists and then gone over them again because running out on Thanksgiving morning for an ingredient is usually a good way to start a fight with your husband!

Today’s side dish is again an old favorite – like anyone would want to have Thanksgiving dinner without Mashed Potatoes! So of course we are having some and believe me no one savours the flavors of butter and cream more than me (and I have the hips to prove it) so when I found this recipe and tried it, I knew it was going to be a hit with everyone at the table including those who are always on a diet  or watching their cholesterol.  AND read the recipe thoroughly because I’m going to also list the ingredients that make it NOT SO HEALTHY and where to substitute them.  Either way, these are delicious mashed potatoes and actually I think the techniques used are probably what makes the potatoes even better than the recipe ingredients themselves.  And the best part is you can make them a day ahead!!!!


1  1/2  cups skim milk  (1  3/4 cup half & half)

2 garlic cloves smashed   (omit)

3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes  (4 lbs )

3 TBS unsalted butter (4 TBS-1/2 stick)

1/4 cup 2% or 0% Greek yogurt (omit)

1 TBS chopped fresh chives (I always use more)  (2 TBS chopped chives) and (2 TBS chopped parsley)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish: 2 tsp chopped fresh chives  (and 2 tsp chopped parsley)

Bring milk and garlic to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and let stand.  Meanwhile, place potatoes in a medium pot, and cover with water by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil.  Cook until tender, 10-12 minutes.  Drain, and pass through a ricer or food mill.  Return to pot.

Heat potatoes over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until slightly dried out, about 2 minutes or less.  Strain milk mixture into pot .  Discard garlic.  Stir in butter.  Remove from heat.  Stir in yogurt, chives and 1 tsp salt;  season with pepper.  Garnish with chives. Do NOT garnish if you are storing for a day.

Serves 8 – recipe from Martha Stewart Living

Cook potatoes in cold salted water, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer till potatoes are tender 15-18 minutes. Drain, return potatoes to pot.

Stir potatoes over medium heat until dry, a film of starch will form on bottom of pot. Remove from heat.

In small saucepan, combine half & half and butter;  bring to a simmer over medium.  Pour half of hot liquid over potatoes.  Mash just until smooth, adding more liquid to reach desired consistency.  Stir in parsley and chives.  Season with salt and pepper. Garnish.  Do NOT garnish if you are storing for a day. 

Serves: 8 – recipe from Martha Stewart Every Day Food

NOW here’s the good part.  Put your mashed potatoes into a bowl that you know will sit in large pot as if it were a double boiler.  The bowl must be able to withstand some heat although it will not be in boiling water.  Cover your potatoes tightly with Saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.   On Thanksgiving Day, place the unwrapped bowl of potatoes over a pot of soft-boiling water.  Do not rush the process. Let the potatoes warm through while you go about the other hundred details of a Thanksgiving Dinner.

Martha Stewart, Whole Living, Thanksgiving dinner, mashed potatoes, garnish

Heart Healthy Mashed Potatoes

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Gone are the days of the green bean and Campbell’s soup casserole, known in my house as White Trash Green Beans.  SOOoooo politically incorrect – my kids named it, not me. 

I grew up with the usual suspects on the Thanksgiving table.  It was Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Turnips, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Stuffing, Green Bean French Onion casserole,  Creamed White Onions,canned jelled Cranberry Sauce.  Not too exciting, but oh so familiar 

I said good-bye, farewell to those dishes years ago!!  And I love side dishes so over the years I have collected a lot of recipes.  If you are making the BIG meal at home, you might find one or two to try out and if you’ve been invited to a feast, why not bring a really special dish?

Old habits die hard so here is a modernized version of the traditional Green Bean Casserole.  It is Green Beans with Carmelized Onions and Tarragon. 

1 TBS plus 1 Tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 large sweet onions such as Vidalia, thinly sliced

coarse salt and ground pepper

2 lbs green beans trimmed

4 tsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 TBS oil over medium-high.  Add onions and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are deep golden brown and very soft, 30 minutes.  (Refrigerate in an air-tight container, up to 1 day.  Bring to room temperature before using).

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook green beans until crisp-tender and bright green, about 6 minutes.  Drain and toss with tarragon and 1 tsp oil; season with salt and pepper.  Transfer beans to a platter and top with onions.

Recipe from Martha Stewart‘s Every Day Food

Green Bean Casserole with French Onions

The OLD Green Bean Casserole with French Onions (Photo credit: Moomettes)

martha stewart, every day food, white trash casserole,

The NEW Green Bean Casserole – Martha Stewart Every Day Food

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Traditional Thanksgiving meal in New England

Image via Wikipedia

It’s time to get you guys more involved in what goes on here…I mean it’s hard sometimes for me to come up with the whole post, it’s holiday time, I have to plan, shop and cook, I have a job and that means I have to be at the office and also out showing apartments…and I’ve been babysitting Finley a lot lately because Mommy and Daddy are running around Manhattan checking out schools and getting checked out themselves.  Soooo now you see why I need to you to participate, contribute and literally help me out.

I’m going to start this off but I’m warning you I don’t think I’ve had too many NON-TRADITIONAL dishes at Thanksgiving over the years.  On the other hand since  I was born as a third generation American of Italian and German heritage, ethnicity did play a role in any holiday meal. Let me think….well when I was a little girl and we would go to my Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving, what I remember was not eating any turkey. It’s not that there wasn’t a turkey, at least I think there was, but I don’t remember eating because by the time Grandma served it I was too full.  Why? Because Grandma always served Ravioli first!!! I don’t remember if there were Meatballs and Sausages too, but I wouldn’t be surprised!

Then when I used to spend Thanksgiving dinner with my first husband’s family, there were definitely some traditional to them – NON-TRADITIONAL dishes on that table.  There were a lot of things stuffed besides the turkey;  We had Stuffed Artichokes and Stuffed Mushrooms which were stuffed with basically the same bread stuffing that was in the bird!  Now I can see some of you trying to picture this because in your house the stuffing was probably made with cubes of crouton-like bread and how do you get a cube into an artichoke leaf?  Physics dictate you can’t and you can’t!  But my mother-in-law’s stuffing basically  consisted of grated Italian bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese and chicken broth.  She did add a small amount of sauteed onion and celery but not enough to alter the consistency of the dressing which was pretty much porridge-like – now you see how you could mush it into the artichokes and plop it on top of the mushrooms?

Then there were several years when I spent Thanksgiving with my Aunt Marian and my cousins in New Jersey.  Dinner was fairly traditional  in  that there were Mashed Potatoes, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Creamed Onions, Turnips…and Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage. My uncle was German and hence the cabbage.

Over the last several years I’ve kept a pretty traditional Thanksgiving table with tweaking the standards and adding other vegetable sides, keeping the desserts traditional-well traditional for my family anyway.  I’m saying that because as I’m typing I realize that I often make a Pumpkin Cheesecake as well as a Pumpkin Pie. That’s a tradition I kept from my mother-in-law and it is dee-lish-us!

And now it’s your turn.  Let’s hear what NON-TRADITIONAL dishes have become a tradition at your Thanksgiving Dinner table.  You can comment or feel free to email me at pbenjaytoo@gmail.com

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A sweet potato.

Image via Wikipedia


Everybody has sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving right? I guess it’s a given;  mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and  candied sweet potatoes. I just don’t love candied sweet potatoes because they are already sweet by themselves and when they’re drowned in maple syrup or brown sugar and butter, you have dessert.  You could put in a crust and you’d have sweet potato pie. AND other than jellied cranberry sauce from the can (yuk) they stick out like a sweet thumb in a fairly savory meal.  So rather than throw tradition out the window completely, I make a sweet potato side dish that is slightly sweet and light – Sweet Potato Puff.

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 tsp salt and dash of pepper

4 cups mashed sweet potatoes (2 lb)

2 eggs separated – beat separately

Preheat oven 375 degrees

Mash potatoes with melted butter

Fold in egg yolks and egg whites (soft peaks).

Bake in greased casserole for about 30 minutes

Sprinkle top with cinnamon.

It’s quick, easy, and can be made earlier in the day and rewarmed.

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