Boy-O, Caramelized Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Christmas stocking, family, holidays, Indy, Johnnycakes, Knitting, knitting projects, Little Miss Stinker's Christmas stocking, Mariah, Mr. T, recipes, Rosie, Sae, shopping, swing dancing, Thanksgiving, The Absent-minded Professor
My cousin is sitting across the room from me wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt and pants, working on his computer with no blanket wrapped around his legs, no wool socks on his feet, no hat on his head, nothing, and he seems perfectly fine. Whereas I am on the other side of the room, wearing jeans, long sleeved shirt, wool sweater, scarf, and socks, with a wool blanket tucked around my legs, and I’m still cold. I don’t know how he does it.
In other news, I had a rather nice Thanksgiving. It started a little early, on Wednesday night. Rosie had told me that some of the siblings were planning a grocery run, and I was invited along. I didn’t actually need to buy much, but it’s always fun shopping with my siblings, so I wanted to go. Except they were going to go at some ungodly hour early on Thursday, in order to avoid the crush of people buying last minute things for their Thanksgiving feasts. I treasure my opportunities to sleep in, so I wasn’t so thrilled about that. I let Rosie know this, and then headed off to dancing. There was almost no one there, so I just had time to dance with four of the five guys there, and then help pack up. Since it was so early, when SD asked if I’d like to go to Friday’s with the crowd (something I usually pass on), I decided to go along. An hour or two later, fortified with French onion soup and a Jack & Diet Coke, I was ready to do the little grocery shopping I needed to do (milk, OJ, sour cream for the mashed potatoes), head home, and fall over into bed. Once home, I started my good-night routine, but only got as far as the face washing before I got a call from Rosie. She was at the Family Homestead with the other siblings, they had decided they were going to make their grocery run now instead of trying to get up early, and would I like to come. I thought, “Well, I haven’t changed into my PJs yet. Why not.” So I put on my coat and headed over to meet them.
Shopping with my younger siblings is a good time. AP is home from college, so I got to bond with him on the way there and back. Indy was heading up the expedition, sending people off to grab things like an extra pound of butter, and the bread cubes Rosie would need for the stuffing. I sortof wandered along in her wake, a little loopy from being up too late, and still feeling the effects of the Jack & Coke. Somehow Indy decided that the family was going to buy me some sausage, which I was glad to accept. Somehow we emerged from the store an hour or so later still intact, and headed home. Rosie had been doing laundry at the parents house, so she headed back there while I headed home. Consequently, I came in my front door at about 3:30am to find Johnnycakes still up, and giving me a rather startled look. I stopped inside the doorway and looked at him. “You might be wondering, “ I said, “Why I’m coming home at this hour carrying a pound of sausage.” He considered this for a moment and replied, “You know, I think at this point we’re well beyond questions.”
The next day, thankfully, I was able to sleep as long as my body wanted, and take as much time as I needed to get out the door. I wasn’t expected at the Family Homestead until 4pm, so about then I packed up the ingredients for my mashed potatoes (which may have been the best mashed potatoes I have ever made in my life), and headed over. People were still getting the house in order at that point (everything had been disarranged last week while Indy and the two youngest boys had painted two of the walls in the living room). I helped out with that, and then started making food. Indy had already started the turkey roasting, Boy-O was making biscuits, Rosie was doing stuffing, Sae was bringing her famous apple salad, and Mariah was doing the pies. I had the potatoes, and had decided to mash them with caramelized garlic butter and sour cream. The trick is to cook the chopped garlic very slowly in lots of butter until it aquires a delicate golden color, and becomes little chunks of crunchy garlic flavor floating in mellow garlic butter. The flavor of the garlic is intense without being overpowering, and has an almost sweetly nutty quality to it. When you pour it over the cooked potatoes and mash it in, you get gorgeously garlicky mashed potatoes with little golden chunks of garlic goodness. Amazing. The thing is, though, that everything on the table was so good that my mashed potatoes were about par for the course.
A few years ago Mom decided that the Friday after Thanksgiving was now the Tranditional Cleaning of Mom’s Carpets. This year she and Dad were actually down in Texas spending the holiday with AnniPotts, so for a little while we thought we might get out of it this year. No such luck. Yesterday morning saw me, Sae, Indy, Boy-O and AP moving all the furniture out of Mom & Dad’s dining room, and me running that (bloody heavy) carpet cleaner over every squre inch of the wall to wall carpet. It was exhausting, but I’m proud of how much we got done, particularly since we were running on a skeleton crew. We’re looking forward to next year, when maybe we can pull Mr. T into helping too.
So far today has been an easy day. I got up, went to the Farmers Market, delivered my beloved Kitchen Aide stand mixer to Mariah’s (she’s making biscotti all day today), and came home to eat breakfast and blog. I have a lot of knitting to do, particularly since I never finished the Christmas stocking for Little Miss Stinker, plus a couple of other commissions. This means I’ll probably also be watching a lot of tv as I knit. There’s a dance down in Cincinnati tonight, which I was thinking of attending, but we’ll see.
And because I love you all, here is the recipe for those amazing mashed potatoes:
Caramelized Garlic Mashed Potatoes of Amazing Goodness
- 5 lbs. potatoes
- 1 stick of butter (2 if you want to be really decadent)
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 c. sour cream
- salt & pepper
Scrub the potatoes, put them in a large pot of water (make sure the water covers the potatoes), cover the pot and set it over high heat to come to a boil. While you are waiting, seperate out all the cloves of garlic in the head, peel them (I prefer the smashing the cloves slightly with the flat side of a knife to loosen the skins method), and chop the garlic finely. You want the pieces to be about the size of sesame seeds, or a little larger. Melt the garlic in a small saucepan over low heat, and add the chopped garlic. Cook it gently over low heat until the garlic pieces have just turned a delicate golden brown. They can get about as dark as bread crust, but for the love of God, DO NOT LET IT BURN. Burned garlic has a nasty, bitter, acrid flavor, and you would have to throw it all out and start again. As soon as the garlic has turned a lovely golden color, turn the heat off and set the pan aside.
As soon as the potatoes are done (which will be about 20 minutes after the pot comes to a rolling boil), drain them. Pour the garlic butter over the potatoes, and mash them up using a potato masher, or if necessary, a large wooden spoon. Add the sour cream, salt and pepper to taste, and mix thoroughly. Serve. Accept the adoration that is your due.
If you would like to be extra fancy, save a little of the butter along with some of the garlic chunks, and drizzle it artistically over the mashed potatoes just before serving.