For those of you on Facebook, then you know how FB will show you something you’ve posted from the past and ask you if you want to share it again. Most of those I’ve seen shared by family are photos and cute stories from their past postings. Nearly all my “memories” are recipes and cooking tips – some long before my blogging days. (The biggest reason I started blogging in the first place was because my personal Face Book account was so full of recipes and tips. Everyone I knew was asking for me). This is one of those past posts that popped up, and I thought I’d pass it along . . . good advise.
Way back in the early day of Cook Books, there were entire sections dedicated to household tips and advise for the “little woman”. Many were good tips that you simply don’t find in today’s cook books. I suppose internet searches for topics such as How to Boil an Egg have taken the place of old-fashion printed advice. For the woman (or man) of today, you need to read old books with an open mind, as some of the things simply do not apply to us today. Some of my favorites are how to fetch your husband’s slippers and pipe, if you can believe that! And oh my goodness, make sure your makeup is fresh and you greet your husband with a smile and his favorite cocktail in hand. You get the idea.
These same cookbooks have information regarding how to make coffee, boil water and mash potatoes. The key to a good mashed potato begins at the market – selecting the variety. While there are a lot of potatoes to pick from, here are tips for the most common potatoes and their usage:
- Red Potatoes
– Red, rosy skin, but can have white, yellow, or even red flesh.
– Firm, smooth, moist texture.
– Are well-suited for salads, roasting, boiling, and steaming. Like the white potato these potatoes will hold their original shape when mixed into potato salad.
– Smaller reds are referred to as “new potatoes,” meaning they’re harvested before reaching maturity.
- Russet Potatoes
– Most widely used variety in the United States.
– Characterized by netted brown skin and white flesh.
– High starch content and fluffy interior makes them ideal for baking, mashing, and making french fries.
- White Potatoes
– Smooth, light-tan skin with medium starch level.
– Dense, creamy in texture, and holds its shape well after cooking.
– All-purpose potato: Great for roasting, baking, steaming, and boiling.
- Yukon Gold
Yukon gold potatoes are the result of crossbreeding a North American white potato with a wild South American yellow-fleshed variety.
– Originated in Canada and made its way to the U.S. in the early 1980s.
– Waxy, pale, yellow flesh with firm texture.
– Great for roasting and frying, and works well in soups, stews, and gratins.
Of the most common potato, the Russet Potatoes make the best mashed potatoes. The higher the starch content; the fluffier the mashed potatoes. (Although I will admit, I like reds or whites, too). There are a three basic steps to mashed potato success, regardless of recipe directions or type of potato selected.
1. Salt the water. Place enough salted water in the pan to cover the potatoes, there’s no need to drowned them. Let the potatoes and water come to temperature together.
2. After draining potatoes, return to pan and “dry” potatoes over medium heat until cooking liquid has evaporated. Dry potatoes mash cleaner than wet-ones. Besides, the extra water only dilutes the wonderful flavor of the smashed studs.
3. Heat milk, cream, butter or whatever else you are adding to potatoes before combining them. Pouring cold milk or adding cold butter will cool the potatoes as well. Unless your recipe calls for big plate of cold mashed potatoes, it’s never a good idea.