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Subject: lumpy mashed potatoes -- help!
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: Julie 
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 20:28:51 -0700
--------
I'm embarrassed to even ask this because it's such a basic thing to make but
my husband and I love garlic mashed potatoes and we don't mind the lumps but
it would be nice to have them unlumpy so that I could make them when other
people are here!  If I use the hand blender to "mash" them they get this
shiny, glossy look to them which is unappetizing to us.  I've used Yukon
gold and russet, and usually put milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and
garlic powder or roasted garlic in them.  Could these extra things be
causing the potatoes to be shiny when I "whip" them?  Why doesn't the old
fashioned potato masher work?  Argh.

TIA.

-Julie.

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From: normalr[at]aol.com (Normalr)
Date: 12 Oct 2000 01:14:17 GMT
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Hi
   Potatoes should be hot when mashed.Try getting a potato ricer at a kitchen
store.Run the potatoes through this before whipping.

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From: Peter G. Aitken 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 02:19:33 GMT
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Normalr wrote:
>    Potatoes should be hot when mashed.Try getting a potato ricer at a kitchen
> store.Run the potatoes through this before whipping.

Or use a food mill, which does the same thing as a ricer but can be used for
other things. Do not over-whip as it tends to change the starch structure
and make the potatoes gluey.

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From: Stan Horwitz 
Date: 12 Oct 2000 01:49:18 GMT
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Julie  wrote:
> I'm embarrassed to even ask this because it's such a basic thing to make but
> my husband and I love garlic mashed potatoes and we don't mind the lumps but
> it would be nice to have them unlumpy so that I could make them when other
> people are here!  If I use the hand blender to "mash" them they get this
> shiny, glossy look to them which is unappetizing to us.

This subject comes up every few months on r.f.c. The solution is quite
easy. Go to your favorite cookwares store and get a potato ricer. A 
potato ricer is a hand tool that lets you squeeze a boiled potato three a
cup in the tool that has several holes in it. This mashes the potatoes 
quite nicely without breaking the potato molecules to create that shiny 
starchy texture that results when you process the potatoes in a blender.

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From: mtsar 
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 22:19:26 -0400
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Wow - I found a potato ricer to be one of the most impractical kitchen
implements ever.

Skordalia (garlic potatoes) is traditionally made with a mortar & pestle,
but an electric mixer (even hand-held) work fine.  FYI, bread or almonds can
be used in place of the potatoes.

Use  hot cooked potatoes, olive oil, milk or milk sub, fresh garlic (to
taste), sea salt and - here's the kicker - vinegar.

We don't use an actual recipe, but usually start with 6-8 med size potatoes
and take it form there.  Yum.

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From: Kim 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 03:24:11 GMT
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I have always made Skordalia with bread. I have only known it to be made with
bread.
--confused Kim???

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From: mtsar 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 11:51:13 -0400
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Don't be confused, there are three distinct options.  We use potatoes
because I'm Celiac.

BTW, My mistake:  I thought the original post was about making garlic mashed
potatoes, not potatoes w/ garlic.  Skordalia is a more like whipped
potatoes; mashed well, it weren't for the lumps, it wouldn't be mashed.

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From: LINDAINSOMERSET[at]webtv.net
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 23:51:47 -0400 (EDT)
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Hi All  The best way to make mashed potatoes is to use a food mill witch
is better then a ricer. put butter and what ever you like through it
then whip and add milk, a little as you go to your liking.  It will be
the best you ever had. When you see a shine they are to starchy. over
whip this will happen with a ricer

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From: wardna[at]aol.com (WardNA)
Date: 12 Oct 2000 02:21:56 GMT
--------
>I've used Yukon
>gold and russet, and usually put milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and
>garlic powder or roasted garlic in them.

Mash the potatoes BEFORE you add the other ingredients.

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 12 Oct 2000 03:20:23 GMT
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WardNA writes:
>>I've used Yukon
>>gold and russet, and usually put milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and
>>garlic powder or roasted garlic in them.
>
>Mash the potatoes BEFORE you add the other ingredients.

'Zactly.

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 12 Oct 2000 03:19:02 GMT
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A few small lumps are nothing to be ashamed of, it'll prove to your guests that
they're worth your not serving them dehys... mashed means just that, *mashed*,
any other method, ie. riced/whipped ain't mashed (totally different texture).  
Next time, before mashing, allow the taters to dry by covering them with a
towel so moisture can evaporate and mash to the desired consistancy before
*folding in* any butter/liquid... dry potatoes mash with fewer lumps, the
wetter the potatoes the more the lumps will slip away from (elude) the masher. 

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From: Dard Mason 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 03:36:16 GMT
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I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but when I cook the potatoes in a
thin aluminum pan they get shiny when I mash them.  When I  use a heavier
gauge metal pan or a glass sauce pan, they don't.

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From: Jill McQuown 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 15:50:12 -0500
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Sheldon wrote:
> Next time, before mashing, allow the taters to dry by covering them with a
> towel so moisture can evaporate and mash to the desired consistancy before
> *folding in* any butter/liquid... dry potatoes mash with fewer lumps, the
> wetter the potatoes the more the lumps will slip away from (elude) the masher.

I agree.  Although my mother never covered the potatoes with a towel, she
would drain them thoroughly and let them sit in the hot pan until they had
"air dried" but were still hot.  Then she would sprinkle them with salt and
pepper, then mash them (I'm not sure but I think she used a big fork).
Depending on the quantity of potatoes, she'd add up to 1/4 c. softened
butter and gradually stir in up to 1 cup of milk (which had been allowed to
set to room temp) and stir, stir, stir.  There were always a few small
lumps, which, as Sheldon points out, indicated she hadn't grabbed the Hungry
Jack box of dehydrated potato flakes.  I do cheat and use a hand mixer for
mine, but I smash them well first then just give it a few short bursts when
adding the butter and milk to finish them off.  Garlic potatoes are okay,
but I don't go out of my way to make them.

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From: Tom Caruthers 
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 06:03:56 -0700
--------
My wife does most of the cooking, but I'm the "Mashed Potato" guy.

First, put the garlic in the water in which you boil your potatoes.  While
boiling, the garlic permeates the pots.
Second, I use a KitchenAid mixer.  Milk is always room temp, and I "nuke" my
butter so it's liquid.

Sometimes, if we're having guests and I'm putting the pots in a serving dish
(instead of just on the dinner plate), I'll put a couple pats of butter on
top and put the whole dish under the broiler.  It slightly browns the top of
the pots, and the butter runs all over the top.
Yummy!

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From: B. Green 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 05:08:51 GMT
--------
Minus the garlic and cheese, using the old fashioned hand masher, Mom used
to put in a good 1/4 pound or more of warm butter, and she would heat the
milk also; along with some energetic elbow grease, they always came out
incredible.
I now make them that way myself, a bit less butter though.
Adding some shredded cheddar or roasted garlic is a pleasant change.
A few lumps are enjoyable around here, never mind what 'other people' think,
especially when it comes to how one cooks at home...

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From: Jo 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:01:53 GMT
--------
For perfect mashed potatoes - never use a blender! Blenders will result in a
doughy yucky mess....something to do with breaking up the starch molecules,
I believe. Anyway - another 'secret' to the perfect mash is to use warmed
milk - never cold - it really does make a difference - and, as others have
suggested - mash the potatoes before you add any other ingredients.

Hope this helps!

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From: 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 02:21:17 -0700
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Several tips for perfect mashed potatoes...

1.  Boil potatoes with plenty of salt.  Also try adding a garlic clove 
	and/or a bay leaf.
2.  Have ready, HOT milk or cream and softened (but not melted) butter.
3.  When potatoes are done, drain thoroughly and return to hot pan,        
	shaking over heat until potatoes are dry.
4.  Use ricer or food mill for making a perfectly smooth puree.
5.  Use whisk to incorporate hot milk and butter into potatoes.

If potatoes must be held after mashing, cover top of pot with folded 
towel and then lid, keeping warm over lowest flame.

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From: Peter G. Aitken 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 14:40:52 GMT
--------
A recent Cooks Illustrated did a thing on garlic mashed spuds. They claim
that melted butter gives better results than softened. I am skeptical, but
it might be worth a try. They also say that cooking the spuds whole in their
skins and then peeling once they are done gives much better results. I would
not use a whisk to incorporate the butter etc - better a wooden spoon. The
less the potatoes are manipulated once they have been riced, the better the
texture.

For a nice change, use 2/3 potatoes and 1/3 cooked turnip or rutabaga.

============================

From: cryambers[at]aol.com (Pat)
Date: 12 Oct 2000 23:33:50 GMT
--------
Peter G. Aitken wrote:
>For a nice change, use 2/3 potatoes and 1/3 cooked turnip or rutabaga.

That is good. Cauliflower also works in mashed potatoes.  You really can't
taste the cauliflower, but it works fine to extend the potatoes, which is how
I've used it.

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From: mtsar 
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 23:38:48 -0400
--------
Cauliflower would be okay with potatoes,  but I don't understand using as an
'extender':  Cauliflower is more expensive than potatoes.

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From: cryambers[at]aol.com (Pat)
Date: 14 Oct 2000 14:44:21 GMT
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mtsar wrote:
>Cauliflower would be okay with potatoes,  but I don't understand using as an
>'extender':  Cauliflower is more expensive than potatoes.

When I say I've used the cauliflower to extend the potatoes, it's not because I
planned it that way, but because I turned out to be short on potatoes and had
some cauliflower on hand.  I've also used up small amounts of cauliflower I had
left after making something else by putting them in with mashed potatoes.

I never really thought about the relative cost.  I don't buy cauliflower all
that often. I don't think I could even give an estimated price off the top of
my head...

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From: Jill McQuown 
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 12:15:42 -0500
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Cryambers wrote:
> I never really thought about the relative cost.  I don't buy cauliflower all
> that often. I don't think I could even give an estimated price off the top of
> my head...

(chuckling) I *love* cauliflower, and in the mid-southern U.S., at least, I
can tell you it is now selling for about $3.00 for a small head.  I also
love asparagus, but I rarely pay the price they are demanding for a few
measly stalks of it, even in the height of summer.  Now that it is Fall, I'm
concentrating on winter squashes :-)

============================

From: cryambers[at]aol.com (Pat)
Date: 14 Oct 2000 19:12:29 GMT
--------
Jill McQuown wrote:
>(chuckling) I *love* cauliflower, and in the mid-southern U.S., at least, I
>can tell you it is now selling for about $3.00 for a small head. 

Whoa - that *is* pricey.  I think I would have noticed if it was that expensive
last time I bought it (at least I think I would've noticed;-).  I'll have to
check the price next time I get to the supermarket.

============================

From: mtsar 
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 18:58:08 -0400
--------
Cauliflower is expensive here to, unless you get the 12" heads from the
farmer's market in season ($1 cdn).

I hope, between all these posts the original problem has been solved!

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From: gzywicki[at]my-deja.com (Greg Zywicki)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 17:14:48 GMT
--------
> 2.  Have ready, HOT milk or cream and softened (but not melted) butter.

I've never found the milk temperature to matter.  As Others have said,
the most important thing is to mash without liquid.

My wife made some fantastic mash last week with Baked Potatoes.  They
had a hint of roastiness to them.

For a nice treat, reserve some of the potatoes, dice, and mix back in to
the mash.  The double texture is nice.

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From: Gargoylle 
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 12:53:04 -0500
--------
>For a nice treat, reserve some of the potatoes, dice, and mix back in to
>the mash.  The double texture is nice.

I'm with you. Our latest thing is to "smash" rather than "mash". We do
it just enough to incorporate a little butter, a dash of milk, and
cheese. Lately it has been gorgonzola. They are still lumpy, and very
yummy. I'll let my grandma whip those babies up on holidays because we
like the texture this way. I might try your method though. it sounds
good.

============================

From: gzywicki[at]my-deja.com (Greg Zywicki)
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 17:37:57 GMT
--------
The nice thing about adding the lumps back as diced potatoes, as opposed
to just not mashing as much, is that you can still get the nice fluffy
creaminess you get with mashed potatoes.  When I've tried to just
undermash them, they turn out like undermashed potatoes, and a bit too
dry in some areas.

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From: pud 
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 00:39:41 GMT
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Nothing like an old fashioned ricer to make the best smooth and fluffy
mashed taters
in the world :-).  Just MHO :-).

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From: nataline[at]nwu.edu
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 15:37:35 GMT
--------
Don't forget to blend the roasted garlic and warm milk (or half and half)
in a blender before adding them to the potatoes!  That way you eliminate
any lumps of garlic that might occur.  It also seems to "spread out" the
garlic flavor better. Good luck!

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From: The Weagraffs 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:21:53 -0700
--------
Whenever I make regular mashed potatoes, I use the Red skinned ones.  They
are a creamier potato and rarely have lumps.  The secret I have been told by
my uncle who is a fabulous cook is that you let the potatoes boil in the
water until they are almost falling apart, then drain the water and mash
them completely with your masher, I prefer to use a handheld mixer.  Don't
add anything until they are completely mashed and lump free, then add the
milk, butter, salt & pepper, and your desired amount of garlic.  Hope this
helps----Jen @>----->-----

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From: Tom Anderson 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 20:00:05 GMT
--------
Stick with the Food Mill advice & run the roasted garlic through with the
potatoes.
Add your warm milk & butter, salt & white pepper.
Then... "don't over whip", just lightly blend the ingredients together with
a fork & serve.

============================

From: AudBall 
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 21:55:27 GMT
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"Julie"  wrote ...
> If I use the hand blender to "mash" them they get this
> shiny, glossy look to them which is unappetizing to us.

What do you mean by "hand blender"? An immersion blender? It purees instead
of mashing. I know from personal experience--fortunately, I had to make
excuses for the glossy substance that looked like school paste just to my
husband and not to any dinner guests.

I prefer to use the old fashioned hand masher. IMHO, little lumps give
mashed potatoes character.

Kathy

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From: Richard Caley 
Date: 13 Oct 2000 15:51:56 +0100
--------
I think an electric blender will destroy the structue of the spud
resulting in a bowl full of unstructured starchy stuff. Yeuch.

If I want them v.smooth I would mash them with a masher for a while to
break it all down into mash, then add some butter, maybe milk or
something (or creme cheese, or whatever - if making abnngers and mash
the fat from the sausage pan complete with crispy bits!). Then finish
off with a fork. Whipping it up a bit with the fork should break down
any remaining lumps, and also get it fluffy.

============================

From: bregent[at]my-deja.com
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 17:08:44 GMT
--------
I've been making mashed potatoes for years and have never encountered
any of the problems discussed here. Just heat the water and milk, add
the flakes and whip with a fork.

BTW, what are these red and white skin things you guys are talking
about?

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From: Gargoylle 
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 12:53:04 -0500
--------
>BTW, what are these red and white skin things you guys are talking
>about?

Probably bits of the box. Maybe they should make the box green so you
can call them chives.

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From: pambern[at]aol.com (PamBern)
Date: 13 Oct 2000 19:30:59 GMT
--------
I like my mashed potatoes lump free and fluffy, and use a handheld electric
mixer to get them that way, adding a little milk and butter at the same time. 
I've tried using a food processor, but that purees them, which is not as fluffy
as I want.  Of course, my way is not really "mashed," as in squashed with a
potato masher.  Sometimes (actually often) I do the lazy thing and leave the
skins on the potatoes.  The electric mixer breaks the peel down into small
pieces so they don't interfere with the overall fluffiness, while giving the
illusion of lumps (which my husband likes--he also likes lumps in gravy and
oatmeal, which I attribute to a childhood spent eating my mother-in-law's
cooking).  I'm not picky about what potatoes I use, and just buy whatever
non-red potatoes are on sale at the store, which is generally Idaho or
all-purpose.

Pam
Miami FL


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