Throw Back: Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Mashed potatoes – likely not the kind of post to make the interwebs go pitter-patter.

And yet, they have a sort of special place in the relationship between Husband and me. Ergo, I’m posting them anyway.

Way back when, when we first graduated from college, we moved into the same apartment building.  This was a ridiculously fun year  – a college redux, except for now we had a little bit of money in our pockets (and earlier alarms).  On Sunday evenings, to delay the inevitability of Monday mornings, Husband, his roommate, my roommate, and I would all get together for Sunday suppers.  We traded off cooking and hosting duty each week, and we almost never missed a week.  (We were much less consistent about our jobs – we had all quit those within nine months of starting them.)  In the midst of this, Husband and I started (not-as-secretly-as-we-thought) dating, which our friends were kind enough to pretend to ignore until we decided we actually really liked each other.

Husband and I now joke that we knew he was in it for the long haul when one week I made – and burned the bejesus out of – pumpkin soup…and he ate the whole thing. (Our roommates were less kind about this particular meal.)  But really, I think he knew he’d want to stick around when I made mashed potatoes for our first “Friendsgiving” (and also, that garlic would be a taste he’d have to grow to love).

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Garlic Mashed Potatoes (for two)

  • 3 Yukon potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5-6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • cold water
  • salt, pepper
  • big splash of heavy cream
  • big splash of buttermilk
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream cheese (we used some with a hint of jalapeno…so delish)
  1. Throw the roughly chopped potatoes into a big pot, along with the garlic & a pinch of salt, and add cold water until the potatoes are just covered.  Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 13-15 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes & garlic, return to the pot, and add butter.  Add a splash of heavy cream, buttermilk, and a dollop of cream cheese, another pinch of salt and pepper, and gently mash with a masher – I like my potatoes a big lumpy, and the garlic will fall right apart.
  3. Adjust seasoning and butter/cream/buttermilk to taste.  Serve immediately.

The Verdict:

There are about 4 million ways to make potatoes, and probably about a quarter of those are variations on mashed potatoes (I’m just spitballing here). However you choose to make them, I hope they taste like these – reminiscent of love and the start of something new. These went perfectly with the ribs Husband made me this past Easter, another Sunday evening.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

A week after roasting about 5 pounds of root vegetables, we’re finally finishing them off, much to the Husband’s delight.  I snuck roasted veggies in salads, on tarts, into a bowl of macaroni and cheese, and finally, into this soup.

Husband is so delighted, in fact, that he volunteered to go to the grocery store tonight after work.  If I understood anything about how odds are calculated, I would put a numeric figure here; since I don’t, I will just say that odds are very high we will not be eating vegetarian tonight.

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Roasted Vegetable Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 cups roasted vegetables (our mix included parsnips, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, onion, fennel)
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh sage (about 4 leaves) and fresh thyme (leaves from about 6-8 stems)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2-3 cups veggie or chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • optional toppings: green onions, sage, sour cream, pistachios, etc.
  1. In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for a minute or two.  Add vegetables and season with salt and pepper.  Add the fresh herbs and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Cook off the alcohol (2-3 minutes) and add the stock.  Turn down the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about 10 minutes.  (Note: this is an ideal time to get cornbread going! Recipe here.)
  3. Working in small batches in a blender/food processor OR with your awesome immersion blender, blend the stock, veggies and herbs together.  Add stock, as needed, for desired consistency. Season, if needed.
  4. Remove from heat and add the cream, mixing thoroughly.  Serve immediately with desired toppings…and with cornbread, of course!

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The Verdict:

While I debated the merit of posting a recipe that sounds a little too familiar (I did say that there were about 1001 variations on our favorite butternut squash soup), ultimately, I decided this was dinner chez nous last night, so I might as well.  (The real risk is probably in trying to make the Husband eat more roasted veggies.)  In the meantime, this is delicious, filling and makes tons of leftovers – using 100% ingredients that were already in my fridge.  Score for frost living.

Valentine’s Day Steaks with Blue Cheese Cream Sauce

I love Valentine’s Day.  Love, love, love it.  It is all of my favorite things, combined in one beautiful day.  Chocolate, cards (ok, I know people like to get down on Hallmark holidays, but honestly, who doesn’t looooove browsing the Paper Source?!), flowers, food, and of course, my husband.

Despite the fact that we are technically newlyweds, this Saturday marked our ninth February 14th together.  And it was the best one yet, planned entirely by him, & capped off by this ridiculous meal, also prepared by him (with a little help from Ina).

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Valentine’s Day Steaks with Blue Cheese Cream Sauce

for the steaks

  • 2 8oz filet mignon steaks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter

for the sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2-4 oz roquefort, blue, gorgonzola or carambiola cheese, crumbled
  • salt & pepper
  • chopped scallions or chives

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  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; heat a large oven proof skillet over high heat.
  2. Pat dry the filets with paper towels.  Brush a little bit of oil over them and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Start making your sauce by pouring the cream into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cream is reduced by half.
  4. Add the steaks to the hot pan and sear evenly on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Top each steak with a pat of butter and place the pan in the oven.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove, cover tightly with foil and allow to rest.
  5. Remove the cream from the heat,a dd the cheese and stir until melted.  Season with salt and pepper, add scallions or chives.
  6. Serve steaks topped with the sauce…and if you’re lucky, like I was, with a side of sauteed mushrooms, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, and a good bottle of red wine.

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The Verdict:

Honey, you’re the man.

Vegetable Pasta with Sherry Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Remember that time when I said everything on here would be relatively healthy?

Welp, relatively was the operative word in that promise.  Also: it’s cold outside, and you deserve it.

creamy + cheesy + veggie +...carby
creamy + cheesy + veggie +…carby

Vegetable Pasta with Sherry Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

  • about half a box of pasta
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • salt, pepper + crushed reds
  • 3-4 tablespoons sherry
  • large handful spinach
  • large handful kale
  • about 1/3 cup cream
  • 2-3 oz gorgonzola, crumbled
  • optional: parsley, parmesan
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente.  Reserve a little bit of the starchy water for the sauce.
  2. Heat the olive oil and the butter in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, some salt, some crushed reds and gently cook the mixture as the pasta cooks (about 10 minutes or so).
  3. Add the sherry and cook off the alcohol; add the starchy water, cream, gorgonzola, spinach, and kale.  Add the pasta and bring the mixture to a quick boil to thicken the sauce.
  4. Serve immediately, topped with a bit of parsley and/or parmesan.  Contemplate going for a run…tomorrow.

The Verdict:

As you’ll note from the menu plan earlier this week, this wasn’t part of our plan this week.  This was a hail Mary after the Husband wasn’t able to make it home for dinner – it just didn’t feel right to make the asparagus tart without him!  Which also means this isn’t a “recipe” – this is a mix+match based on what’s in your fridge.  Sometimes, that’s just how you have to roll.