Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lightning Round of Mashed Potatoes

Winslow Homer's Arrival At The Old Home

It is so strange that we are going into the Holiday season so readily. It truly does seem like I just took my last burger off the grill and here we are, waiting to carve our first ham, turkey or pork already. I am going to give you over 50 ways to try the humble, lowly potato this year. For us purists, there is nothing like digging into a bowl full of mashed potatoes, but then again, it's great to use your imagination and spice things up a bit now and again. Give one or more of these recipes a try this year.

Classic Mashed Potatoes

Cover 2 lbs. whole potatoes with water and boil 20-25 minutes or until soft. Drain, and add 1/2-1 stick of butter or margarine, 1 c. milk(either heated or cold), salt and pepper. Mash by hand or with beaters until smooth.

Chunky Red

Use red skinned potatoes but don't mash until creamy, leave a little chunky

Tangy Mashed Potatoes

Make Classic or Chunky Red but use 1 c. sour cream instead of milk and top with freshly chopped dill.


Saute 2 chopped red bell peppers and 1 t. thyme leaves in olive oil, covered, until tender. Mash and swirl into Classic Mashed Potatoes.


Make Chunky Red but replace the butter with nonfat plain Greek yogurt and use skim milk.

Spicy Chipotle

Make Classic Mash but add 1 T. chopped chipotles in adobo sauce. Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro.

Olive Butter

Pulse 1/4 c. pitted kalamata olives, 1/2 stick soft butter and 2 T. each of fresh parsley and cilantro in a food processor. Dollop the olive butter on Classic Mash.


Make Chunky Red Mash and add 1/2 lb. grated Monterey Jack, 1/2 c. sliced scallions and 2 minced, seeded jalapenos. Top with sour cream and more scallions and jalapenos.


Make Classic Mash, top with applesauce and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.


Cook 1/2 lb. chopped bacon until crisp. Make Classic Mash, replace half of the butter with 2-4 tablespoons bacon drippings. Fold in some bacon and sprinkle the rest on top.


Make Bacon Mash and add 1/2 lb. grated sharp Cheddar and 1/4 c. each minced parsley and scallions.


Cook 1/4 lb. diced pancetta in olive oil with a pinch chopped rosemary and 2 smashed garlic cloves; drain and spoon over Classic Mash or Chunky Red Mash.

Winslow Homer's The Dinner

Horseradish Chive

Make Classic Mash but use 1 c. sour cream instead of milk and mix in 1/4 c. horseradish and 1/4 c. minced chives.


Make Classic Mash and mix in 1/2 lb. grated smoked Gouda and 1/4 c. sliced scallions.


Mash Classic Mash with 1/2 c. cooking liquid instead of milk and finish with 1/4 c. olive oil and 2 t. each of chopped fresh basil, tarragon and parsley. Omit the butter.

Crispy Garlic

Fry 8 thinly sliced garlic cloves in 3 T. olive oil until crisp; drain. Drizzle the oil into Classic Mash or Mediterranean Mash and top with the fried garlic.

Golden Saffron

Make Classic Mash and add a pinch of saffron to the milk, heating over low; steep 10 minutes. Garnish with smoked paprika.


Make Chunky Red Mash and stir in 1/2 c. pesto. Garnish with pine nuts.

Winslow Homer's The Dinner


Make Classic Mash and stir in 1/2 c. hummus. Top with freshly chopped parsley and toasted sesame seeds.


Heat 1/2 c. olive oil with 1 T. fennel seeds and 3 small dried chiles. Saute 1 diced fennel bulb in the oil until tender. Make Classic Mash and top with the fennel and fennel oil.

Italian Cheese

Make Classic Mash, add salt lightly. Add 1/2 c. each grated Parmesan and Romano cheese.


Fry 1/2 lb. crumbled chorizo until crisp; stir in 2 T. paprika. Spoon, with drippings. over Classic Mash and top with scallions.

Rutabaga-Brown Butter

Make Classic Mash but replace half of the potatoes with 1 lb. rutabaga. Brown 4 T. butter with 3 T. chopped parsley and a pinch of nutmeg; drizzle over mash.

Winslow Homer's Thankgiving Day, Ways and Means


Peel and cube 1 lb. butternut squash; boil 8 minutes. Drain, puree and swirl into Classic Mash.


Make Squash-Swirl Mash. Brown 4 T. butter with 1/4 c. chopped or rubbed sage and 1 t. salt; pour over mash.

Simmered Leek

Make Classic Mash. Thinly slice 1 bunch leeks; simmer in melted butter until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Stir the leeks into the mash.


Boil 1 small bunch broccoli florets until tender; drain. Add to Classic Mash with 1/2 lb. shredded Cheddar.


Make Italian Cheese Mash and top with 2 t. minced rosemary mixed with the grated zest of 1 lemon.

Roasted Tomato

Toss 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes with olive oil and salt on a baking sheet; roast 20-30 minutes at 450-degrees F, until soft and browned, turning. Add to Classic Mash.

Italian Sausage

Saute 1/2 lb. crumbled sweet Italian sausage until crisp. Make Classic Mash and stir in 1 c. Parmesan; top with the sausage.

Indian Spice

Toast 2 t. each mustard, cumin and coriander seeds in a skillet. Add 1 stick of butter and 1/2 t. each ground turmeric and salt. Make Classic Mash with the spiced butter.

Indian Green Pea

Make Indian Spice Mash. Warm 1/2 c. frozen peas in the butter; remove with a slotted spoon. Top the mash with the peas.

Crispy Shallot

Slowly cook 8 thinly sliced shallots in 3 T. olive oil until crisp and golden; drain. Sprinkle over Classic Mash or Italian Cheese Mash.

Celery Root

Cook 2 cubed, peeled celery roots in 2 c. milk until tender; puree. Make Classic Mash but replace the milk with the celery root puree. Garnish with parsley.

Swiss Chard

Remove stems from 1 bunch Swiss chard; boil 5 minutes and then add the leaves and cook 3 additional minutes. Drain, chop and add to Classic Mash.

Blue Cheese-Walnut

Make Classic Mash. Brown 4 T. butter with 1/2 c. chopped walnuts, 2 T. each chopped rosemary and parsley, and 1/2 t. salt; add a pinch of sugar. Cube blue cheese over the mash; drizzle with the browned butter.

Poblano Pepper

Broil 3 poblano peppers until blackened. Peel, seed and cut into strips. Saute 1 c. chopped onion, the poblanos and 1 sliced garlic clove in olive oil until golden. Serve over Classic Mash and garnish with sour cream.


Mix 1-3 T. wasabi powder with equal parts water to make a paste; cover. Make Classic Mash and stir in the wasabi paste.

Jean Ferris The First Thanksgiving

Sweet Potato

Roast 2 lbs. sweet potatoes at 400-degrees F until tender, about an hour. Halve, then scoop out the flesh. Mash with 4 T. butter and add salt to taste.

Sweet Potato Pie

Make Sweet Potato Mash, stir in 1/4 c. maple syrup and top with toasted pecans.


Cook 1/2 c. diced prosciutto in olive oil until crisp, about 6 minutes. Spoon over Sweet Potato Mash.

Pumpkin Seed

Make Sweet Potato Mash with just 2 T. butter. Saute 1/2 c. diced, roasted poblanos, 1/4 c. green pumpkin seeds and 1 t. cumin in 2 T. butter; season with salt and spoon over the mash.

Sweet Potato-Apple

Make Sweet Potato Mash. While the potatoes roast, simmer 2 chopped, peeled apples in 1/2 c. apple cider with 1/2 t. cinnamon until soft. Mash with the potatoes.

Sweet Spice

Make Sweet Potato Mash and stir in 2 t. pumpkin pie spice, and the grated zest and juice of 1 orange.

Curried Sweet Potato

Make Sweet Potato Mash, mash with 1 T. curry powder and 3 T. each plain Greek yogurt and mango chutney. Top with toasted coconut.

Root Vegetable

Make Sweet Potato Mash. While the potatoes roast, boil 2 each of peeled and diced parsnips and turnips until tender. Mash with the potatoes and butter; garnish with chives.

Old Fashioned Buttermilk-Green Onion

Replace half of the milk in Classic Mash with buttermilk and add 4 green onions that have been sliced thin.

Sweet Carrot Mash

Place 2 lbs. potatoes, 2 lbs. peeled carrots and 6 cloves garlic in pot of water and boil until tender;drain. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste; mash well. Stir in 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese before serving.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Eerie New England

Is it the rustling of the leaves or the rustling of footsteps you hear beside you as you walk through that known, haunted graveyard. That's right folks! Here are a few documented cemeteries here in new England that have been known to harbor entities that are not only verifiable, but unexplained. Talk a stroll with me as well take a hesitant glance at two graves that harbor spectral phenomena that have intrigued us for years.

Midnight Mary
Evergreen Cemetery
769 Ella Grasso Boulevard
New Haven, Connecticut

Mary E. hart was born in New Haven and lived on Winthrop Avenue. She worked as a seamstress, a machine stitcher, and corset maker. In her 47th year of age, she suffered what was then called an "applexy", what today is known as a stroke or cerebral embolism.
Her family presumed she had died and they buried her that afternoon. Mary's sister awoke at midnight after having a terrible nightmare in which she had heard Mary screaming in the grave. She alerted the rest of the family. Mary's coffin was disinterred, and when they opened the lid. poor Mary was truly dead. Evidently, she had been buried alive. Her bloodied fingers, torn fingernails and the scratches on the inside of the coffin, as well as her terrified grimace revealed her gruesome fate. She [probably died of fright.
Her large, pink granite stone reads: "The people shall be troubled and midnight and pass away" in ominous black letters over the rest of her epitaph:L"At high noon just from, and about to renew her daily work, in her full strength of body and mind Mary E. Hart having fallen prostrate remained unconscious, until she died at midnight, October 15. 1872. Born December 16, 1824."
This gave birth to the legend of Midnight Mary. According to the stories, Mary's ghost is a "lady in white", a nocturnal hitchhiker on Winthrop
Avenue, who suddenly vanishes before reaching her destination. In another urban legend, Mary was a witch with a cursed grave. Brave young souls often died after staying the night at her gravesite.
for well over a century, people have been spooked by the peculiar phrase on her grave. What did it mean? Was it some sort of warning or curse?
Not at all. Those familiar with scripture might recognize the passage from the Old Testament, Job 34:20.

Evergreen Cemetery
Town Hill Road
New Haven, Vermont

Being buried alive was real fear in the old days. A famous grave in Vermont testifies to this dreadful plight. It is known as "the grave with a window."
Dr. Timothy Clark Smith was born on June 14, 1821 at Monkton, Vermont./ He worked as a clerk for the U.S. Dept. of Treasury. After earning a medical degree in 1855, he became a staff surgeon in the Russian Army. Dr. Smith also served as U.S. Consul in Russia.
Dr. Smith passed away just after breakfast(not on Halloween according to the legend)but on Saturday, February 25, 1893 at the Logan House hotel in Middlebury.
Because of his fear of premature burial, Dr. Smith was buried in a special crypt at Evergreen Cemetery. His son, Harrison, designed the two-room crypt. Dr. Smith's coffin was fitted with a window at eye level protected by a cement shaft and a 14-inch plate of thick glass.
According to the stories, in earlier times it was possible to peer down into the shaft and view Dr. Smith's remains. Allegedly, his coffin was outfitted with a hammer and chisel so he could escape from it on his own if he had to. Some say he was buried with a bell to ring and alert others if he awoke. Stairs(now capped) led down into the vault. Some say low moans come from his burial site. You be the judge.