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Mashed Potatoes With Variations

6 medium baking potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup hot milk or hot buttermilk
freshly grated nutmeg; optional

Peel and quarter potatoes and place in large pot with just enough
cold water to cover and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Over high heat, bring
to a boil; lower heat to medium low and cook, covered, until very
tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain. Mash potatoes, working out
all the lumps. Add butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and milk. Whip with
a fork until smooth. Add nutmeg to taste, if using, and a little
more hot milk, if necessary. Serve immediately or keep warm over
a pan of hot water.


All quantities are for the basic Mashed Potatoes (recipe above):

HERBED: Add sprigs of fresh herbs, bay leaf or celery tops to the
water while boiling potatoes, if desired add 1 tablespoon finely
chopped parsley, thyme or oregano, or a combination of fresh herbs,
while mashing.

ITALIAN: Substitute herbed olive oil for butter and use hot chicken
broth instead of milk.

PESTO: Omit butter; add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and 1 to 2 tablespoon
basil pesto or sundried tomato pesto.

ROASTED GARLIC: Brush 6 to 10 unpeeled cloves garlic with olive
oil and roast at 3250F for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle,
squeeze garlic out of skins and add to the potatoes while mashing.
Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, if desired.

ROOT VEGETABLE: Use only 4 potatoes and add one of the following:
4 medium parsnips, peeled and diced; 2 white turnips, of equal size
to the potatoes, peeled and diced; or 1 medium celery root, peeled
and diced. Cook with potatoes. Add an extra pinch of nutmeg

Notes: The roasted garlic variation will work well. Roasting really
mellows the garlic flavour so use more if you are a garlic lover.
For a really intense garlic flavour use raw garlic pushed through
a garlic press. The flavour will be very different; use only one
or two fat cloves. Unless you like gluey potatoes, don't use a
food processor or electric mixer. I would leave out the nutmeg
and use the buttermilk with the garlic variation.


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