Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy Side Dish

This is a busy time for a lot of people. Doing extra work in the office because many people are taking their vacations, making plans to visit friends and family during the holidays or else preparing to cook a big holiday meal at home. Traveling during the holidays is such a hassle nowadays, especially if you are flying out. I will choose to stay home if you ask me. To whip up a little bit of holiday spirit, we are making mashed potatoes this year. To my surprise, mashed potatoes have been voted as America's favorite holiday side dish, also a classic comfort food. Who would know a plain old looking potato would have such wow factors. 

When it comes to mashed potatoes, people have their own style and flair, different taste different mash. Mashed potatoes are a very forgiving food. People will eat them no matter how you cook them, as long as they are mashed and served with a spoon. 

Lucky for me, I bought some Chinese chives during a visit to Chicago Chinatown. They were fresh and smelled wonderful. Wish we had a decent Asian market here. I missed the fresh vegetables and the delicious Chinese   dim sums. I use a lot of chives because I love the sweet, delicate flavor. But it is perfectly OK to use less, there is no right or wrong when it comes to chives. It's all about personal preference.  

Chives Mashed Potatoes 
Recipe by Leslie, 2010     
Makes 6-8 servings                                                                          

You need:

2  pounds Yukon Gold potatoes  (or Russet potatoes)
6  tablespoons (2/3 stick) butter, melted    
1  cup warm milk or heavy cream  
1  cup chopped Chinese chives
2  cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil, salt and black pepper


Peel the potatoes, cut each into 4-6 pieces, put in a medium pot with cold water. Cover and cook until boiling. Add 1 teaspoon salt and reduce the heat, simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender but not mushy.

When the potatoes are almost ready, warm up 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan, saute the vegetables   on medium heat until tender, season with salt and pepper, about 5 minutes.

Drain, add butter, mash the potatoes with a masher or potato ricer in a large mixing bowl. Add half the milk, stir the potatoes, add more milk as needed until smooth and fluffy. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Do not over mix the mashed potatoes or they will turn dense and gummy. Taste and season with additional salt or milk as needed. Stir in sauteed chives. Ready to serve.