Mashed potatoes are a form of comfort served up in a bowl. A soft, mushy, milky mash, steaming hot, with a sweet aroma that calls you to sit at the dinner table, satisfy your hunger, and send away your workday cares. Mashed Potatoes! Yes!
Yesterday's dinner was made up of steak and mashed potatoes. Prior to cooking, the steak had marinated for two hours in a sweetened concoction which gave it a somewhat crunchy exterior and also added an unbelievably tender, tasty texture. A nice honey undertone to it also. I am disappointed that I don't have the recipe for the marinade, it belongs to the friend who cooked the steak, and it's guarded like the crown jewels in the Tower of London. Trust me, that recipe will be posted on this blog one day, just wait and see. Anyway, after the dishes were done, we headed out for a night of New Year's Eve debauchery. Yeah, too out of it to remember where I was when 2012 "was born," but I am guessing, and probably rightly, that indeed it was born. This afternoon I staggered to the front door and picked up the newspaper, all the while nursing a prodigiously colossal hangover. I tried to focus my right eye on the paper. That was the eye I was managing keep open. I could tell that my left eye was tightly shut and that it had also somehow gotten bandaged. I don't know why or who done it. So as I said, I focused my right eye on the front page of the paper. The date was emblazoned in large black letters: "Happy New Year, January 1st, 2013!" Oh no, 2013?!?!!? 2013? Where had 2012 gone? The last thing I remembered was eating rosemary, nutmeg and garlic infused mashed potatoes on New Year's Eve 2011. Then what happened? How much partying had I done? Was this a parallel universe? What happened to 2012? What happened to the whole of 2012? What was the problem with my left eye? Who was the president? Obama? Hillary? Ron Paul? I caught another headline: "The US to switch back to the gold standard." I guessed that Ron Paul had been elected. Shucks, I would have taken Santorum over Ron Paul (Santorum? Just kidding)! I let the newspaper fall to the floor, and I tottered back to bed. "Don't have no answers," I murmured to myself as I crawled underneath my blanket. "Just let me take a nap, and perhaps when I next wake up things will make more sense... although I doubt it."
It was the nutmeg. I had used too much nutmeg in the mashed potatoes. And as it turns out, my left eye wasn't bandaged. That was the ... it was my ... I have no idea how my bra got twisted and tangled over my left eye! The steak I mentioned? Wait till you hear this one. Are you ready? It wasn't meat. Turns out we attacked a tray of brownies. And not baked from scratch, either. Brownies from a box!
And as it also turns out, I had never even left the house. I stayed home and finished reading a wonderful "who done it," called "Death Comes to Pemberly." Loved it, loved it. Jane Austen's characters from "Pride and Prejudice" occupy the pages of this novel by P.D. James, and Mr. Wickham is still up to no good. I highly recommend this book. I was so engrossed in reading it that I was careless with the amount of nutmeg I infused into my mashed potatoes. Nutmeg in large quantities can be dangerous. It has hallucinogenic properties. Look it up! Bellow, I give you the recipe for the mash, minus the nutmeg. In all seriousness, the rosemary & garlic infusion turns the potatoes from an ordinary side dish into a rather special concoction. Just don't eat it with brownies.
Get some potatoes that are appropriate for mashing. Peel them, cut them up and boil them until they are soft. Right away drain them. Meanwhile, and while the potatoes are boiling, place the milk you will be using to mash them with into a saucepan. Throw in a nice size sprig of rosemary plus 5 cloves of peeled smashed garlic and bring to a boil. When the milk boils, but before it spills all over the stove top, remove it from the heat. Let the rosemary and garlic steep in the milk until you are ready to use it. They should steep long enough so that the milk is infused with the flavors of rosemary and garlic. When you have drained the potatoes, strain the milk into them, add some salt and pepper and some butter and then get to mashing. That's it. Place the potatoes in a serving bowl and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over them. Bring them to the table and pass them around. (Tip: keep away from the nutmeg. In fact, don't even keep a supply of it in your house, or apartment, or castle, or where ever it is you happen to live. Really? You live in a castle? How much is your heating bill? Do you have a moat? Send pictures, please).
Love, Laughter and a Happy 2012 from Ana!