Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Potato Time!

The Mashed Potato was one of those dances I could just never get the hang of. Mostly because there was a mentally handicapped kid at my school who walked like that and I was always afraid someone would think I was making fun of her so I would improvise and do other stuff. And if you're thinking to yourself that I'm too young to have been doing this dance you're both right and wrong. Sure it's a little out of time but my P.E. teacher had a group of us go in before or after school and she taught us all these fun dances. We even performed the Pata Pata as part of a half-time show at the college basketball game. Of course during class we had to learn square dancing for reasons I don't know. If you get to see actual square dancers in the fancy costumes it's a bit more fun but just in your gym clothes it feels like a cross between playing BINGO and Simon Says plus there's the cootie factor. Ew
Moving on down the dance floor. Since the holidays are coming up I thought I'd share my recipe for mashed potatoes. Which is odd since just last year I made my first attempt at mashed potatoes, or was it this year? I don't remember, but I needed to make Shepherd's Pie so I needed to figure out how to make the mashed potatoes. Sounds like an easy thing to do right? It is easy, what's hard is that they're intimidating. It seems like the potatoes are the one thing that if you get wrong everyone will mention it. Somewhere someone out there is complaining about their grandmother's lumpy mashed potatoes, or "gluey" yea that doesn't sound appetizing. You can make mashed potatoes as complicated or as easy as you want. I go for easy, as long as they taste good. Here's what I do, now that I'm not intimidated to make them.

  1.  Pick your potatoes. This can seem tough as they come in different sizes. What I've found is if you look at the potato and ask yourself, if this were a baked potato would it be enough to fill me up? Do that with each potato for each person you're cooking for. 
  2. Clean them really good. I keep the skin on mine. It's a bit of a wives tale that all of the nutrients are in the skin, but there is a good amount of dietary fiber in it, so in it goes. 
  3. Cut the potatoes. They don't have to be uniform or thinly sliced, just cut up so they'll cook faster. You're going to mash them up in the end so it doesn't matter. 
  4. Boil them in water. Depending on how many potatoes you're boiling is how much water you'll need. Have enough water to cover the potatoes.  It usually takes about 10-15 minutes to boil them. You can check them by putting a fork in one and if it easily falls off the fork you know it's done. If they're not boiled all the way through you'll have hard lumps in your mash. 
  5. Electric mixer time. They should have a dance for that. Stand mixer or hand mixer, either one will work. Drain the water, or strain, from the potatoes and put them in a mixing bowl. Add salt, cream cheese, butter and a pinch of garlic salt. The amounts will vary depending on how many potatoes you cooked. If you did one serving use 1/2-1 Tbsp butter and cream cheese and one pinch of garlic salt. If you did two servings use 2 Tbsp and so on. I rarely add black pepper to anything I cook. I figure it's much like ketchup and mustard. You'd never hand someone a hot dog with ketchup and mustard already on it. If you do you're a turd. Some people like a lot of black pepper and some don't like it at all, therefore you make sure there's some on the table so they can add as much or as little as they like on their own. 

So there you go, it's easier than some people make it seem. Sometimes I think people make a job sound way harder than it really is so they get some sort of recognition for their effort. Those people probably serve hot dogs with ketchup and mustard already on it. (Ketchup has no business being on a hot dog anyway, but that's enough for a whole other post). From start to finish it takes about 20 minutes and about 15 of those are boiling time so you can fix the rest of the meal while the potatoes are boiling.
I was too busy last week to finish the book I'm reading, or maybe it just wasn't interesting enough to finish? Some books I can't put down, others I put down and start a new one. That's how I end up reading three or four books at the same time. Anywho, since I have no book to share with you I'll share this article I read. It did captivate my attention enough to read. It was posted in the comments of an artists's blog where there was a discussion about how social media affects art. This particular article is about a guy who goes around and buys up work from unknown artists and markets them on social media. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/magazine/the-art-worlds-patron-satan.html?_r=0  It was a bit difficult to actually understand what this man does with the art but a good read nonetheless. I hate to think that people are really purchasing paintings and sculptures based on popularity on social media sites, but just look at the music industry. Really good talent seems to go unnoticed and this article sheds a bit of light on why that is. I like the way the author wrote the article though, he made it really difficult to form any kind of opinion on the guy. It starts off with an endearing story about how he was the knight in shining armour to an upcoming artist, but he ended it with basically saying he's running a chop shop for art.
Haven't posted a daily doodle in quite some time so there you go. A watercolour I attempted. I've been wanting to try painting wet roads and I finally gave it a shot. Not the greatest but there you go.




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