Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

It is early morning, and still dark out. It is my favorite time of the day. The fireplace is going and the room is toasty. I sit here curled up on the couch covered in a warm fluffy blanket and my two sweet baby pups are next to me snoring away. Everyone in the house is sleeping. And I have a front row seat to our Christmas tree which is decorated in holiday reds and greens.
 My heart is happy. 
Today is the day before thanksgiving. A day where families and friends gather to share a wonderful meal and each others company. Stories of years past will be shared, laughter will fill every nook and cranny and quite possibly even a little family drama. 
The last couple days I've spent the majority of my time in the kitchen, prepping everything for the big thanksgiving dinner. I am in heaven. I love the sounds of water boiling, my knife chopping vegetables, the timers going off and the smell of thanksgiving that fills the air. Toasted nuts for pies, fresh vanilla bean that goes into my roasted pumpkin pies, and the sweet samples of chocolate french silk pie and homemade whipped cream. All of it brings back memories of my mom and grandma prepping for the same meal. I used to sit at the kitchen table working on small tasks that they would give me and watch them work for hours. It was if they were dancing. Their movements were slow and graceful yet efficient. They were never in a rush. They relished their time together, making everything come together to make a delicious meal for the ones they loved. 
So today, I am going to share with you one of my favorite recipes that they made and now I make for my family. 

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds Russet Potatoes Peeled, cubed, boiled till fork tender
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup real butter cubed
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper 

I boil my peeled and cubed into bite sized potatoes until they are fork tender. Any resistance when pushing a fork into a chunk means they need longer. The fork should go in easy and the bite sized potato should split in half with ease.
Drain well. Turn off heat.
To the same pan, I add the remaining ingredients. Leave the heat off for now.  I don't mix these up. I just plop them in. Before adding potatoes I use a potato ricer. You can find them in most any store. This is by far one of the best kitchen gadgets ever. And guarantees a soft silky and creamy mashed potato. Using a measuring cup or large spoon, I put the cubed and drained potatoes into the ricer and press the potatoes out into the pan with the ingredients. Keep doing this until all of the potatoes are riced. Using a spoon or spatula, slowly stir all of it together. The hot potatoes will melt the cream cheese and butter throughout. If needed you can return the heat to low and keep mixing until everything is incorporated. Season more to taste with salt and pepper. 

Then spoon all of the creamy mashed potatoes into a crock pot and set to warm. You can do this early in the morning long before guests arrive. This will allow you more time to visit and less time over the stove as your guests arrive. Once your potatoes are in the crock pot, I lay a stick of butter down on the top and just put the lid on. the butter will melt and pool around the potatoes. Stop cringing and calorie counting. Its thanksgiving! Be happy and thankful we have butter! :) 

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