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I was working in the kitchen late one night when my eyes beheld an eerie sight.
For my potatoes from my plate began to rise, and suddenly to my surprise, it was a mash! A monster mashed potato, that is.
On the menu in this week’s No Ramen, No Problem is Monster Mashed Potatoes, just in time for Halloween.
Mashed potatoes are a blank canvas for those with creative culinary minds, as they have a subtle enough flavor to showcase whichever ingredient, or medley of ingredients, is added to them.
First, we’ll establish our mashed potato base, coaxing as much character from the root vegetable as we can, and then move onto creating monster flavors.
For the best possible mashed potatoes, start with Yukon Gold potatoes. Yukon Golds have less starch and more inherent moisture, so they’re better for boiling.
To prepare the potatoes, first peel off all the skin, cut them into quarters and rinse them. Then, boil them in salted water in a large saucepan. You’ll know they’re fully cooked when you can just barely poke them apart with a fork.
While these are on the stove, take out your butter and cream cheese. We’ll let these soften while the potatoes cook.
When your potatoes are soft enough, thoroughly drain the water from the saucepan. You can heat the potatoes on low stovetop heat, after the water is drained, to cook away any excess moisture.
After the water is dissipated, use a potato masher or hand mixer to start crushing the potatoes until they’re smooth. If a potato masher isn’t available, a large, sturdy fork can be used, but prepare for a great arm workout.
Once the potatoes are mashed, we’ll fill out our mashed potato base by adding our butter and cream cheese. This will add some nice, creamy texture and make everything taste relatively incredible, as butter and cream cheese often do. Thoroughly mix both into the potatoes, and then add salt and pepper to taste.
Now we have our base, so let’s get creative. One of my favorite combinations is diced bacon, chives and parmesan cheese topped with a small dollop of sour cream.
To assemble this gorgeous variation, cook your bacon in a large sauté pan, rinse and slice your chives into thin slivers, and through either buying grated cheese or grating down a block, make sure you have grated parmesan cheese.
Mix these ingredients in, to taste, right after you’ve seasoned the mashed potato base with salt and pepper.
For 2 1/2 lbs. of potatoes, use 4-5 pieces of bacon, 1-2 chives and 1 cup parmesan cheese. Add the sour cream on top while serving.
Another fun, simple variation is wasabi mashed potatoes. For those who enjoy Japanese horseradish, wasabi can be a great way to add some kick to your mash. For 2 1/2 lbs. of potatoes, use no more than 3 teaspoons of prepared wasabi paste. If you’re brave, add more to taste.
An added bonus of the wasabi mash is the green wasabi will cast a ghoulish hue to your potatoes, giving them the perfect color for Halloween.
The sky is the limit for mashed potato variations. Like pancetta? Throw it in. Roasted radishes? Yes, please!
You can test what flavors work well in mashed potatoes by putting a small amount of your potato base into a small bowl and mixing in a proportional amount of the to-be-added ingredients.
So if your friend’s Halloween party seems dead, turn it into a graveyard smash with these Monster Mashed Potatoes.