Foodening Friday – October 17, 2013

I have very few “Family Recipes.”
My maternal grandmother was a prolific baker (from the VERY little I remember of tasting her food as a young child, she was a very traditional Russian chef) and my mom’s younger sister was the same. My mother however, either never cared to learn or never really developed the talent for it – her meals consist mostly of bland food, lots of salads. I distinctly remember eating a lot of very dry pork chops growing up, with little to no seasonings.

My dad cooked a little more than my mom, and most of the “recipes” as I think of them (pork tenderloin, waffles, etc) were ones that had been passed through his side of the family. Certainly my favourite desserts come from his side, but most of them originate from one my aunts-by-marriage, so even there, there is not much to be considered “Traditional Brown Family Recipes.”

Except for the following:

Whipped (Mashed) Potatoes With Cream.

If you ask my mom and my dad’s younger sister, you will get WILDLY different answers as to whom originated the following recipe. I figure, with as many Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners this dish was made for, we can assume that they’re both probably right to some degree. I know I personally liked my mom’s version better – she always added more sour cream to it, making the potatoes tangier, which I preferred. There was always a debate about who was bringing these potatoes, I can certainly tell you that much!

Also: do you know how hard it is to get a good photo of mashed potatoes? They are basically white. Most dishes are also white. You can see where this is going. The pictures looked terrible, and would only detract from the AWESOME that is this recipe, so you’ll just have to use your imagination as to the most delectable, smooth texture with a nice sharp tang to the taste, and you’ll kinda have an idea of what I’m talking about.

The actual, original recipe:

Serves 20
-10 lbs. of potatoes (15 to 18 lge. ones) for 20 people or more
– 2-3 sml. containers of sour cream
– 1 8oz block cream cheese or one large container
– 3 teaspoons of onion salt
– pepper to taste (not much) so taste as you add
– 3 – 6  tablespoons bread crumbs, browned with a bit of butter
(I use these optionally – never much liked the taste of them personally, but they are there in the original recipe, so in fairness I include them)

Instructions as per my mother:

  • Peel and place the potatoes in a large pot of water, then cook potatoes until soft, then drain. Transfer to large bowl.
    (Chloe’s Note: My mother’s original instructions included this caution: “Be careful not to burn the potatoes as they don’t take long to cook!” As you are BOILING the potatoes, I’m not quite sure how you’d burn them, unless you left them SO long that you boiled away all the water…
  • Add Sour Cream, Cream Cheese, Onion Salt and Pepper.
  • Mash then use a rotary hand held mixer on low setting (or you’ll be eating potato off the walls otherwise) after adding sour cream & cream cheese, onion salt & pepper.
    (Chloe’s Note: I suggest slicing the CC up if using the block kind – it’s difficult to mix otherwise. The things you learn. I also mash the potatoes by hand before adding anything and going at it with the mixer. Just what I personally found
  • Mix until there are no lumps and mixture is smooth. It can take awhile.
  • Put mixture into a casserole dish and add crumbs warmed with a bit of butter (melt the butter on top of the stove in an enamel container or something suitable, so the butter doesn’t burn and it turns golden brown). 
    (Chloe’s Note: Here my mother also imparted the cautionary “Not the time to play with the cat!”) 
  • Put the crumbs on the mixed potatoes, lid on and let cool. Put into fridge when container is cool to touch.
  • ~ This can be made 2 or 3 days in advance and left in the fridge to blend the flavours, and it actually tastes much better if it’s made at LEAST a day in advance – the taste is smoother. One less thing to have to do the day of!

    ~ On day of use: Warm up for 1 & 1/2 hrs. @ 325 degrees in a regular oven. Use a cookie sheet below to catch overflow, if any.


    Interested in my other Foodening posts? Check them out by clicking the #FoodeningFriday tag at the bottom of the page, or see the whole “Ambrosial Alliterations” blog collection. Enjoy!