Lemons Lemons are one of my favorite flavor enhancers but you need to be careful of the white pith. If you cook the pith, it turns very bitter. Cooking the rind or pulp is fine but never use the pith or seeds. I remember discovering this disturbing fact cooking chicken piccata for the first time. I thought I could enhance the flavor by cooking lemon slices in the sauce but instead I got a bitter taste I couldn't correct with sugar.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
So light and fluffy but, at the same time, sinfully tasty. Potatoes are one of my favorite foods. They take on the flavor of whatever is mixed with them. They are like a blank canvas waiting for a work of art. So, when I make mashed potatoes, I like to go all the way with flavor. With roasted garlic, butter and cream, these are no diet potatoes. If you are on a diet, don't try this mash as you may be making it every day this week, lol.
Get a jump on this dish by roasting your garlic heads well ahead of time. I usually bake it hours ahead of dinner but you could even get it ready days prior to boiling your potatoes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, cut the top off your garlic head and place it in a ramekin or some other heat resistant dish. Spray the top of the garlic with a little olive oil to prevent it from burning and roast for 45 minutes. I like to use an Oil Sprayer to evenly distribute the olive oil.
My stepmother always had roasted garlic on hand to spread on bread as a substitute for butter. I don't use roasted garlic to lower my cholesterol but I still credit her with my love for this savory ingredient. Just look at the browned oozing tops of goodness. Roasting garlic transforms the strong burning flavor of raw garlic to a sweet and savory profile that adds depth to any dish. I use a pairing knife to extract each clove from it's compartment. The knife serves two purposes. First, the slender profile allows me to slip it down the side and then the tip pokes the garlic as I change the angle and lift. Secondly, the knife allows me to cut open the wrappers that weren't fully exposed when removing the top of the garlic head.
I think potatoes are beautiful with their rough blotchy skin. Maybe it's because I love to cook with them so much that the site of them reminds of how good they taste. Whatever the reason, I took this picture of the raw potatoes cause they just look so good to me. Anyhow, peel your potatoes but make sure your salted water is already boiling. You don't want them turning brown. In fact, I used to leave the skins on my mashed potatoes. I always said it was better for my health but I think it was cause I didn't want to deal with the timing of everything.
Once your potatoes are peeled, cut them into one inch by one inch squares. It's important to get your squares as equivalent in size as possible or your taters won't cook evenly, leaving you with lumpy mashed potatoes. It should take about 15 minutes to finish boiling the potatoes nuggets but check them with a knife. Just remove a piece and if the knife easily pierces the potatoes without it falling apart, your potatoes are done. You can also visually tell they are close to getting done by the little pieces of potato that fall off during the boiling process.
Strain your potatoes and dump them in a mixer along with the rest of the ingredients. It's a good idea to mash your roasted garlic so it mixes better. I like the KitchenAid Mixer personally but any mixer will do. You can also mash them by hand with a Potato Masher and in some ways better than a mixer. Mixers tend to over mix mashed potatoes, making them gummy. If you are careful and run the mixer at the lowest speed initially and frequently stop it to push down the potatoes collected on the sides, your potatoes will turn out nice and fluffy.
Look carefully at the consistency of my mash. The potatoes are light and fluffy even with all that cream, butter, garlic and cheese because I didn't mix them to much or too long. This is the biggest downfall of amateur cooks which is why I am emphasizing it so much. I've made the mistake many times myself. Isn't more mixing better? In this case, definitely not. You want just enough mix for all the ingredients to be distributed evenly and for the potatoes to be nicely broken down but not super creamy. Garnish your potato clouds with paprika and parsley for color and maybe even a little more butter.