Monday, July 21, 2008

B's Basil Balsamic Mashed Potatoes - Yum

Lot of food influences lately. E's went vegetarian, then vegan and now raw. I'm definitely intrigued by the possibilities of these different food choices, especially as I learn more about how to prepare veggies in amazing ways that enhance rather than destroy their delicious complexities. But there is one thing that sticks out to me and the book I'm reading right now points it out: how does one eat raw in a land that has a winter? I don't know about farming in Hawaii, but I assume there is usually something growing, so E wouldn't have a hard time staying raw if she moved there, but what about here in P___?

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is about her families decision (and ensuing hard work!) to eat only locally produced food for 1 year. That's what bugs me about going raw - I think in a warm climate with fruit and vegetable production year-round, one could do both, but I think going raw sometimes means making the choice to import most of one's food supply. I have been thinking lately of going organic and local - in my mind, that results in my buying whatever meets both of those qualifications and figuring out how to make meals out of the result. But when I add raw to that, I find myself wanting to buy lots of tropical products like coconuts and macadamia. I think for today, I will keep learning about raw, but not necessarily go there 100%. Open mind.

At any rate, I LOVE the book. The best of autobiographical writing with information and stories flowing in all directions. Sidebars by her husband include statistical and political information relevant to the discourse and short sets by her daughter include recipes and meal plans. It's really lovely. I was already half in love with it upon reading the back cover in IL, three quarters when I got 30 pages through after being lent the book by a coworker and am now committed at page 130 to finishing this book soon and referring to the web pages and organizations referenced within.

I was inspired by this book to start cooking again, something I've felt oddly guilty about while learning about raw food. I'm glad I got over that, because my dinner was oh-so-scrumptious. The dinner in whole consisted of some rewarmed chicken and green beans from dinner out yesterday and home-made mashed potatoes. Pretty simple, but the mashed potatoes were one of those kitchen accidents that change forever the landscape of how one eats a thing. I may have to make my potatoes this way forevermore. Do try this at home.

B's Basil and Balsamic Mashed Potatoes
all ingredients were what I had on hand, measurements are approximate, substitutions welcome
3 small Yukon gold mashed potatoes, cubed and boiled
1/2 Walla Walla sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c. fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. (soy) creamer
2-4 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar

Boil potatoes, drain. Put potatoes in glass bowl. In same pot, add olive oil, onion and garlic. Saute on medium heat until they smell buttery - do not brown. Add chopped basil to warm potatoes in bowl. Add cream and onion/garlic mixture to bowl. Mash roughly with hand masher. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Mix. Serve with salt and pepper to taste.
  1. This recipe treats basil like a green rather than an herb and it's wonderful! When your basil is going crazy or you have leftovers from another recipe you don't know what to do with, use it this way. I was thinking that if we can have parsley potatoes, why not basil potatoes?
  2. I think the sweet onions really made all the difference. I'm a red onion girl, but I could taste the sweetness of these onions and I don't think it'll be the same with other kinds.
  3. Cream may be substituted for soy creamer, but I recommend people who enjoy cooking to try Silk Brand Unsweetened Soy milk and Original Soy Creamer for cooking (or in your morning coffee!). I actually enjoy the results better than cooking with dairy.

No comments: