Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

November 4, 2019

Turkey is the center of attention at the Thanksgiving table, but the sides are just as important.

Old-School Mashed Potatoes

November 18, 2016

Old-School Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are as American as Thanksgiving itself. Variations range from sriracha to pumpkin spice foie gras mashed potatoes (I wouldn’t recommend that latter). At Thanksgiving, nothing beats a well-made bowl of classic mashed potatoes, however. As with many other deceptively simple dishes, there are reasons why sometimes you have good mashed potatoes, and other times you have fabulous mashed potatoes. Here are my well-kept secrets to make those fabulous ones, served piping hot, and ready for that giant ladle of gravy.

Potatoes with a high starch content (the kind used for baking) provide the traditional flavor and texture. The same starch that gives a baked potato its fluffy interior also contributes to perfect mashed potatoes. Yellow-fleshed varieties like Yukon golds or yellow Finns are excellent as well, but they turn out the same color as mashed turnips, which may be disconcerting to potato purists. If you live near a farmers’ market, take the potato farmers’ advice on local favorites as they may suggest an interesting heirloom variety that will become your favorite.

Purchase your potatoes about a week ahead of time and age them in a cool, dark place. Do not place them in the refrigerator. Mature potatoes are drier and mash up lighter. Please don’t let them sprout eyes, though.

Make mashed potatoes just before serving. Reheated mashed potatoes leave me shivering.

Make sure not to overcook the potatoes. They should just yield to a sharp knife when pierced. If the drained potatoes seem soggy, just return them to the pot and cook over a low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly until they begin to stick to the bottom of the pot. Doing this forces the excess steam out of the potatoes and dries them out.

Mash the drained potatoes in the still warm cooking pot with HOT milk. A cold bowl and cold milk make for lumpy and lukewarm potatoes. The precise amount of milk is a matter of taste, so use more or less to reach your desired consistency.

You’ll need an efficient mashing utensil. Some cooks swear by a potato ricer (which does make the smoothest potatoes by the way), as long as you enlist another pair of hands to make the job go quickly. You may use an electric hand mixer. If you want to use a low-tech, old school hand potato masher, go to a restaurant supply store and get a big one, or the job will take forever. The potatoes will be cooling off by the second and we don’t want that happening. Never ever mash potatoes in a food processor or you’ll get starchy, sticky, gummy mashed potatoes that could be used for gluing kindergarten craft projects.

Season well with salt and pepper. Use your taste to determine amounts. I use kosher salt mostly, but you may use your favorite type of salt. White pepper is spicier than black pepper, but will give you pristine looking mashed potatoes. But, of course, use black if you want to.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

Thanksgiving Menu Guide

November 22, 2013


Thanksgiving Menu Guide

In the spirit of getting organized here is a Thanksgiving Menu guide that can help you plan according.  Print this list out and add your own notes.  Remember that the key to a successful Thanksgiving dinner is organization. 

Soups & Starters

Italian Wedding Soup (Tiny Meatballs, Tortellini & Escarole)

Creamy Mushroom Soup (Rich Mushroom Broth With Sliced Mushrooms)

Sweet Potato Kale Soup (Sweet Potatoes, Corn & Peppers Simmered in Broth, Topped With Kale)

Butternut Squash Soup (Sweet Butternut Squash Simmered in a Light Vegetable Broth With Ginger & Mace)

Chicken Stock (Chicken Bones & Fresh Vegetables Simmered For Hours)

Wild Mushroom Strudel (Portabello, Shitake & Button Mushrooms Cooked With Garlic & Herbs Finished With a Mix of Goat, Mozzarella, Gruyere & Cream Cheese Wrapped In a Crispy Puff Pastry Shell

Bacon Wrapped Scallops (Sea Scallops Wrapped in Smoked Bacon)


Garlicky Greens (Steamed Kale & Chard Seasoned with Roasted Garlic)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Roasted Brings Out Their Natural Sweetness)

Green Beans With Almonds (Fresh Green Beans With Sliced Crisp Almonds With a Touch of Tarragon)

Creamed Spinach With Roasted Garlic (Spinach Seasoned With Nutmeg & Tossed With Cream & Garlic)

Roasted Corn Pudding (A Savory American Classic)

Roasted Butternut Squash With Dried Cranberries (Squash, Roasted With Onions & Herbs)

Cornbread Stuffing With Sausage & Spinach (Sausage In Rustic Stuffing)

Traditional New England Stuffing (Moist Bread Stuffing With Herbs & Spices)

Classic Mashed Potatoes (Velvety Smooth Made With Cream & Butter)

Maple Bourbon Sweet Potatoes (Mashed Sweet Potatoes Sweetened With a Bourbon Maple Syrup

Home-style Green Beans (Fresh Green Beans With Cherry Tomatoes)

Apple Fennel Slaw (Granny Smith Apples, Horseradish & Fennel)

Green Salad (Mixed Green Salad With Cider Dressing)

Sweet & Sour Cabbage (Red Cabbage Braised in Duck Fat)

Peas With Pearl Onions (3 Types of Peas With Pearl Onions)

Autumn Vegetable Ragout With Soft Polenta (Vegetables & Polenta)

Roasted Beets With Orange Vinaigrette (Warm Roasted Beets With Orange Dressing)

Celery Root Salad

Warm Spinach Salad With Goat Cheese & Apples

Sweet Potato & Banana Puree

Apple Bacon Cornbread Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes And Parsnips With Crisp Root Vegetable Strips

Roasted Cauliflower And Shallots With Chard & Dukkah

Brussels Sprouts and Wheat Berry Slaw With Smoked Paprika Dressing

Rich Turkey Gravy (Smooth With Deep Roasted Flavor)

Vegan Wild Mushroom Gravy (Deep, Robust Flavor From Wild Mushrooms and a Splash of White Wine)

Organic Cranberry Orange Relish (Organic Whole Berry Relish With Orange & a Touch of Cinnamon)

Brandied Cranberry Sauce With Pecans (Whole Cranberries Cooked With Pecans, Brandy & Sugar)

Main Attraction

Organic Whole Turkey (Brined or Un-brined)

Roast Turkey With Sage Butter

Cherry Glazed Turkey

Turkey Breast

Orange Pecan Cornish Hens

Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan


Family Style Cornbread

Parker House Rolls

Boston Brown Bread

Parmesan Garlic Biscuits



Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

Blueberry Pie

Cherry Pie

Pecan Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Carrot Cake

Pumpkin Cake

Maple Bread Pudding

Cranberry Pear Crisp

Black Mission Fig Tart

Assorted Cookies

Make Ahead Items

Many Thanksgiving dishes or parts of dishes can be made in advance which is a big help. After writing out your menu and shopping lists look to see what can be done ahead of time. 

Most soups can be made 1 or 2 days before serving.

Most appetizers (or parts of them) can be made 1 day before serving.

Roux for gravy can be made several hours before using.  Just mix butter and flour together, reheat and add stock and pan drippings when time to make gravy.

Vegetables can be chopped 1 or 2 days before using.

Grate cheese or spices 1 to 2 days before using.

Wash, dry, and wrap lettuce in paper towels, and store in a ziplock bag. Place in the refrigerator until ready to toss 1 day before serving. 

Most salad dressings can be made 1 to 2 days before serving.

Have turkey as prepped as possible (salted, spiced and rubbed with butter, in its pan) and ready to go in the oven.

Stuffing items such as onions, celery, mushrooms, etc can be cooked 1 day before combining with bread and stuffed into the turkey.

Bread for stuffing can be cut up the day ahead and stored in a paper bag. Dried out bread is the best for stuffing.

Desserts or parts of desserts can often be made 1 to 2 days ahead such as sauces, crusts, pie filings or toppings.



Saint Patrick’s Day Breakfast

March 16, 2013

Saint Patrick’s Day Breakfast

How lucky we are this year that Saint Patrick’s Day falls on the weekend so how about having a traditional full Irish breakfast.

Start with traditional bangers and then choose either Canadian bacon or double hickory smoked bacon.  Add Eggs, grilled tomatoes, soda bread, baked beans and coffee or Irish breakfast tea.   You can top your grilled tomatoes with grated cheese and herbs or have them just grilled.  Your eggs can be fried, poached or scrambled. 

Bangers are the cornerstone of the traditional full Irish breakfast.  Irish loin bacon is very similar to Canadian bacon as both are cut from the pork loin and are fairly lean meats.  They are cured and not smoked.  Irish bacon also has a small bit of tail meat connected to the eye of the loin.  Double hickory smoked bacon is very similar to American bacon or what is called streaky bacon in the British Isles.  This type of bacon comes from the pork belly and is easily distinguished by the stripes of lean and fat that run through it.  Double hickory smoked bacon is a fine substitute if you decide not to use Canadian bacon. 

Irish breakfasts vary from cook to cook and region to region by incorporating local specialties. Some regional favorites include mashed potatoes that are fried with leftover vegetables, blood sausage or sautéed mushrooms. 

Fourth of July

July 4, 2012

Fourth of July

Today Americans will be celebrating our glorious national holiday, Independence Day.  On the anniversary of the birth of our nation we are grateful for our forefather’s aspirations for freedom and thank the American signers of the Declaration of Independence at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.  We give thanks that the American spirit lives on. 

The Fourth of July is celebrated in every city and town in the United States by patriotic gatherings, parades and speechmaking.  The national anthem and other songs are sung, the voices of free people singing a free song.  The knowledge that freedom had been defended in the past and might have to be defended again on nights far from peaceful and with weapons far from harmless.  For me it produces an emotion that is humbling and sentimental. 

Independence Day food it most often of the picnic and/or grilling variety which is correct for a holiday that is usually spent outside.  There are traditional dishes originating in George Washington’s Virginia.  One such is a breakfast specialty called Rice Waffles.  Another traditional dish of the day is poached salmon with egg and caper sauce that is served with green peas and mashed potatoes.  It was traditional to serve the first salmon of the season, but we know that this menu of soft foods was prepared for George Washington because of the discomfort caused him by his ill-fitting set of false teeth.  The traditional July 4th desserts were Watermelon Pickle and the Independence Day Cake, which is a yeast cake covered in white frosting gilded with boxwood leaves. 

For the July 4th holiday I like to make my Blueberry Crisp.  It is always a big hit and everyone seems to want the recipe.  Whatever you’re making today have a wonderful and safe day. 

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