How To Cook Chapter 2: Measuring and mashed potatoes
Hi guys! Today's hub is all about measuring, and how to make stellar mashed potatoes. Yes, I have a recipe for you, I also have a couple of suggestions and add-ins that will turn 'normal' mashed taters into something fantastically delicious! So instead of wasting space on further introductions, let's get to it.
First of all, measuring ingredients is really not difficult. It should be noted, however, that dry ingredients, like flour and sugar, are measured in a different kind of measuring cup than liquid like water or milk. No worries, I have illustrations. In order to 'properly' measure liquid, the cup should be at eye level while the liquid is being poured into it. It's easier to fill the cup to where you think is right and THEN raise the cup to eye level to check. One note, though; generally, one should measure wet and dry ingredients into separate containers before adding the two together. This prevents a mistake that cannot be easily remedied. Remember, you can always pour excess out, and put more in if it is too little, so there is never a disaster.
Measuring dry ingredients involves two concepts: packing and not packing. For instance; you've seen the ingredient list that said 'one cup packed brown sugar' right? Well, that simply means that the sugar is pressed into the measuring cup. Fill the cup, press down on the sugar with your fingers, and fill it again. Repeat until the desired amount is achieved. See? Easy. Now the 'not packed' concept. Flour, as an example, is never asked for with the word packed. Instead, simply fill measuring cup and level it off with your finger.
Now for the recipe! Ok guys, first a warning: I have not added many measurements; I don't often cook with measurements, they can often be intimidating, and environmental factors can make them wrong. With that in mind, I have tried to make my recipe as easy and intuitive as possible in order to best help everyone.
Potatoes. (figure on two potatoes per person. Kind doesn't matter, and peeled or not depends on individual taste)
1/2 stick Butter (1/4 cup)
1 c (cup) Milk
1. Peel, if you are going to, the potatoes and chop them into small pieces. Looks don't matter since they're going to get mashed anyway, but you want them all to be mostly the same size.
2. Fill a pot with cold water. You want a pot that is big enough to hold the potatoes and have an inch or two of water over the top of them without overflowing.
3. Place pot on high heat until the water boils. (Remember the last hub?)
4. Put butter and milk in a small pot over low heat.
5. Turn heat down to medium high and let potatoes boil (an average of fifteen minutes) until they are soft. *In order to check the softness, simply stick a fork in one. If it is soft enough to eat, it's done. Check them often, though; too much cooking and they will disintegrate.
6. Drain. If you do not own a strainer (a big bowl with holes in it to let the water out), you can use the lid of the pot. Put the lid on the pot, move it a little so there is a way for the water to escape, and pour the water out. Keep ahold of the lid, though, or else your potatoes are going to end up in the sink!
7. Begin mashing potatoes. Use either a masher (picture following) or a hand-mixer (one of those little machines with the egg-beater things on the end).
8. SLOWLY add the melted butter and milk mixture, a little at a time, until the potatoes are the thickness you want. It is ok if you don't use all of it, it is also ok if you need more. If you need more liquid, add cold milk.
9. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
Now for the optional additions: Cheese, cream cheese, cooked bacon bits, sour cream, chives, fresh herbs like sage or thyme, and even garlic. If cooking with fresh garlic, it should be added to the butter/milk mixture so it cooks and is not so strong when added to the final product). Each addition should be added at the end, when you are stirring in the salt and pepper, except for the garlic which has already been explained.