Thanksgiving is over and pretty much all the leftovers are gone (hooray for coworkers and their pie-consuming abililities). We spend Thursday and Friday with K's aunt and uncle at their beachhaus in Washington (state). Of course, this time of year the beach means 40-mph wind gusts, driving rain and hail, and frigid water. But it sure makes you appreciate that you've got somewhere warm and dry to stay, and a fabulous meal to eat.
Now that I've abused myself with food for days I can really appreciate the gym again. mm, yeah.
Dinner was wonderful, we made my Everything-Tastes-Better-With-More-Fat rolls (with the nutritional content of eating a stick of butter with a side of flour) and an apple pie (I discovered the perfect pie apples a couple years ago: Mutsus. A friend claims Cortlands are also very good but they're not readily available here, which is kind of a shock as there are about 5 billion varieties of apples you can get here. Seriously, we go to an apple tasting in October at the local nursery and they usually have 40 different kinds. Not including the pears and asian pears. Anyway, Mutsu apples, they make amazing pies. They don't get mushy when cooked and they have a lovely flavor between tart and sweet).
Everyone else made the turkey, stuffing, some broccoli (our one concession to non-brown food), and smashed potatoes. That's not a typo, smashed potatoes are like mashed potatoes for Type B personalities - with lots of lovely potato lumps in them. It was all good stuff and I didn't even send myself into a food coma.
We used the secret smashed potato recipe this year which is not so secret any more now that Cook's Illustrated published it a couple years ago.
One of my college roommates made fantastic mashed potatoes. They were so good you'd sneak to the refrigerator in the middle of the night, stick a spoon into the bowl, and EAT THEM COLD. They were that good. Do you want to know the secret?
Cream cheese. Yeah.
But added in moderation: said roommate always maintained that you could never add too much butter but you could overdo the cream cheese.
She never worked off a recipe, just adding approximate amounts. I'd say start with a softened 1/4 pack (2 oz? I forget) per pound of potatoes, and proceed from there. Shell out for the name brand stuff too, it's worth the money. And of course massive amounts of butter. Come on, I only do this once a year. More butter!
In a rare disappointment, the Cooks Illustrated recipe used not nearly enough of all ingredients but potatoes. I'd say, double the cream cheese, butter, and salt amounts, at LEAST, unless mashed potatoes are merely a convenient gravy delivery mechanism for you. However, the fact that you
a) use non-russett potatoes, and
b) don't chop up the potatoes before boiling so you don't lose all the good stuff to the boiling water,
is brilliant. I recommend Caribe potatoes (they're a lovely red) for the most fabulous mashed potatoes you've ever had. Awwww, yeah.