Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mashed potatoes are easy, potato pancakes are even easier

Whenever I make mashed potatoes, I get a really funny reaction. Most of my friends are not that experienced with cooking. So when I buy a bunch of potatoes to make mashed potatoes, my friends ask me, "You're making mashed potatoes? Not from a box?" and they seem really impressed. I insist that mashed potatoes from scratch are insanely easy, and probably 100x healthier for you. Nobody believes me. Ever.

Today is the day I prove my friends wrong. Real mashed potatoes do require a little extra elbow grease, but it's hardly demanding. It's also much tastier than dehydrated potato flakes (check the side of the box- it really says that.) Mashed potatoes are a simple, make-ahead side dish. They go well with just about any protein dish, from hearty meat stews to fried chicken. I love to serve a big heaping pile of mashed potatoes on the side. As my friend said, "It just feels like Thanksgiving."

Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4

  • 3 lbs of Yukon gold potatoes (about .5-1 lb per person)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

  1. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Boil in a large pot of lightly salted water until the potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
  2. Drain the potatoes. Mash with a whisk, large fork, spoon, anything that makes sense (or a potato masher, if you have one.) Leave them somewhat chunky if you prefer.
  3. Add the butter and garlic, stir to combine. Add the milk slowly until the mashed potatoes are creamy. Add the cheese and mix until incorporated. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When they are finished, cover and set aside. If you are serving them later, then just reheat them in the microwave and add a little butter or milk if it dries out.

Now, if you are lucky enough to have leftovers, you can make potato latkes for breakfast! My motto is to never let things go to waste. I am not sure how authentic these are, as most latkes I've eaten seem to have more of a hash brown texture. But it's simple and tasty so I'm sure my Jewish friends won't begrudge me this one.

Leftover Mashed Potato Latkes

  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • oil
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • pepper
  • sour cream or greek yogurt (optional)
  • chives (optional)
  1. In a bowl, mix the mashed potatoes and egg. Add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. Heat a good amount of oil in a large flat pan on high heat. (you don't want the latkes to stick, so make sure the pan is well-coated.)
  3. When the pan is hot, spoon about 2 tbsp of batter into the pan. Spread it out into a circle about 3 inches in diameter. Let it cook for a minute or so, until brown. Turn it over and cook on the other side. Remove from pan.
  4. Top with greek yogurt, sour cream, chives, apple sauce, or whatever tickles your fancy. Serve!


  1. Your latke recipe differs slightly from my Polish grandmother's, but it gets extra points for using leftovers.

    Grandma's latkes was made by grating raw russets and then doing everything else pretty much the same as your recipe. The potatoes cook during the frying. You might have to cook them a little longer, and at a slightly lower temperature.

    Only complaint: you forgot the most important topping for latke... Apple sauce!

    - Chris

  2. HAHAHA. I thought of that. I will edit the recipe to include it as an option. But the reason I omitted it was because I hate applesauce!!