Tuesday, July 26, 2011

lauren bacall .... mashed potatoes

Lauren Bacall.
you know her, you love her.. that gorgeously slinky woman with the flinty yet sultry voice. 
she speaks volumes with so few words.
a careless sidelong toss of those utterances have stood the tests of time. 
or at least some lines written for movies have.
 she has immortalized them, regardless. 

the line that is sticking in my mind right now is:
"you know how to whistle, Steve...
just put your lips together and blow."

well this is my recipe for mashed potatoes...
 i put my thoughts into a mental blender and then mash in reality.
my mind tends to wander and go over things while i am cooking.
 sometimes it is for good, sometimes not.
i can truly work a problem out or worry it to death while cooking,
perhaps because i have been working with food freeform for so very, very long a time.
 with so many experiments.
and phone calls to my bff, i have had chances to think.
at least like a grown up for a few minutes in that day.

last night my son had a friend over around dinner time.
so i needed to feed everyone. 
and luckily for them, food shopping had just been accomplished the night before.

graham's friend is a nice kid... they met at work. 
they are so dorky together. 
they enjoy time playing video games and watching movies.
 this is as a couch potato counterpart to the overwhelming love of playing golf.
they would play every day if they could. 
{ at least i can enforce the use of a belt on the shorts worn for golfer tog etiquette, when golf is part of the day. 
i prefer this neater sartorial expression to that of mis-applied inner city stylings. the ones where large amounts of ass and undos  are found hanging out over pants and running is only achieved while holding that knob in the front }

the only thing i am a little concerned about is
 how much pizza they tend to consume when left to their own devices together.
 for heaven's sake, put a vegetable on that pie someday please???
he has half of my dna. 
and my people go to fat pretty fast. 
a long and tried history has immortalized this.
i find it hugely embarrassing. 
the griffins on the other hand, remain a slender lineage.
 however they do not eat for taste. they eat to survive.
 no real gustatory love there. 

so i assumed a invite to stay for dinner. 
i channeled Ms. Bacall.
she floated in and out of my thoughts as:
i washed, cut up potatoes, put them in the stock pot with salted water, boiled them til 
breaking apart tender.
and then
{i heard her whisper in my ear, "just mash".}
put my flea market found potato masher to the test. 
i test that loopy shaped, firm wire tool pretty often too. 
just squish the heck out of those drained spuds. 
press them until only the fewest lumps remain. 

before i start reformatting the potatoes into the puree,
i do add some olive oil, 
a little bit of salt and then i pepper it to the max. 
(some denizens prefer a little back-note of pepper and heat.
i like compliments, not whining so i do what history dictates. simple is good.)
the addition of the olive oil before smashing allows for the starch molecules to get a personal coating of oil, which is really neccesary. 
this helps significantly cut down on the gluey texture that can be achieved almost instantly. 
it is not silky to the mouth as mash ought to be if there is not olive oil party dress. 
then i add heated milk. 
{1 percent if i must divulge. it works very well too}
it is added a bit at a time until the potatoes are starting to have a soft texture 
and a little satiny sheen.

i serve them up with the rest of the meal, 
which needs to be heart healthy for my husband specifically 
and the rest of us generally. 
for us, i stick a really small lump of butter to melt into a puddle and stream over the delectable plated spud mountains. 
for chris, he gets a little bit o' olive oil drizzled on.
he is much better when not left out.  

last night i heard words i never ever in a million years thought i might. 
our guest said:
"no thank you. i do not like butter". 
he lives on pizzas, 
but will not eat butter? 
as nice as he is, and as good a friend to my son as he is, 
i am on the fence about his potential for a return dinner engagement. 

no butter?
so i put my lips together and blew softly. 


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