Tag Archives: mashed potatoes

You Say You Want a Revolution? (Restaurant Review!)

With the veritable whirlwind of eating opportunities in Durham these days, how does one decide? Well, Gentle Readers, if you’re in the mood for classy and delicious, try eating at the bar at Revolution. I specify because the dining area is definitely fine dining, and one is not always in the mood. In this case, I got to meet up with my friend FoodiePants and have a fab wine and split everything experience.

Bar's Eye View at Revolution in Durham

Bar's Eye View at Revolution in Durham

First, review the menu, and then order the Arancini. No matter what your culinary leanings are, just do this, and thank me later. If you’re not familiar with the dish, think of it as the hush puppy of Italy. Touching on yesterday’s theme, it is in fact deep fried rice and (usually) cheese.

All Hail the Arancini

All Hail the Arancini

Arancini is one of those things I order on sight, like pork belly. It’s just a reflex, uncontrollable and true. And Revolution delivered big-time. I will go on record as saying, it was probably the best rendition I’ve eaten to date. For my Italian readers, I’ve never been to Italy, so when The Practical Cook travels abroad, you can guide me to your grandma’s house, but till then, Revolution.

What's inside arancini? Answer: delicious

What's inside arancini? Answer: delicious

As FoodiePants and I like to tip our hats to good health and fitness, we felt compelled to include a vegetable into the mix. We ordered the beet and goat cheese salad. It was good, beautiful, and tasty, but had a hard time competing with a fried ball of rice and cheese covered in an unctuous reduction. But it did sop our guilt.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Now that vegetables were covered, we entered the hallowed halls of oversized ribeye with mashed potatoes and seasoned butter. The Two Fat Ladies would have shied away from this plate. Thus the strong recommendation for both price consideration and sheer gluttony prevention, split with a friend!

I am still missing this ribeye. Hello again.

I am still missing this ribeye. Hello again.

Because, you see, if I were left alone with this plate, no matter how much arancini I had consumed before, I would have eaten the whole thing. The steak was perfectly cooked, the mashed potatoes were off the charts good (and I’m picky, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of them), and the leeks a perfect complement.

Love the tasting menu nomenclature

Love the tasting menu nomenclature

Special thanks to the bartender for outstanding service and unfaltering recommendations in the wine and the food. Looking very much forward to my next omnivorous outing at Revolution!

Have you eaten at Revolution? What’s your take? Post a comment, or Tweet.

Send witty rejoinders and fan mail to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Shepherd’s Pie, or Mashed Potatoes Cover All Sins

True confession Gentle Readers, I have never before made Shepherd’s Pie, and I’ve eaten few of them. However, when my friend Cooking in the Darkroom posted a Facebook photo that was drool-worthy of said item the other week, I became inspired. And I had leftover mashed potatoes. Here’s what transpired.

Shepherd's Pie, The Practical Cook Way

Shepherd's Pie, The Practical Cook Way

Shepherd’s Pie, TPC Style

mix of ~1 Tablespoon butter and olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into bite-size pieces
2 squash, scraped clean and cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup cooked butterbeans (or whatever else you have, green peas, green beans, etc.)
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken stock
2 sliced cooked bacon, diced (0ptional, but delicious)
~2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 cup cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, or a mix

Diced Onion, Carrot, and Squash

Diced Onion, Carrot, and Squash

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the butter and oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Saute onion and carrots until onion is soft. Add squash and saute a few minutes longer, until crisp-tender. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Vegetables Sauteing in Thyme

Vegetables Sauteing in Thyme

2. Add garlic and butterbeans and stir until combined and you can smell the garlic (~30 seconds to a minute). Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add chicken stock and reduce heat. Stir until combined. Add bacon if you dare.

Saute the veggie mixture until crisp-tender.

Saute the veggie mixture until crisp-tender.

3. Pour almost vegetarian mixture into a deep-dish pie pan. Put the pie pan on a baking sheet. Spread mashed potatoes over the mixture evenly. Top with cheese. Cook for 20 minutes, or until it bubbles and cheese melts. Broil for the last minute if needed to brown and melt the cheese.

Spread the mashed potatoes evenly and top with cheese.

Spread the mashed potatoes evenly and top with cheese.

Shepherd's Pie from The Practical Cook

Shepherd's Pie from The Practical Cook

Truthfully, this is essentially like my chicken pie go-to recipe, minus the chicken and crust, plus mashed potatoes and bacon. It was divine. Serve with a salad and you’ve got a meal made of leftovers no one will recognize. (The Eldest Practical Cook called it Sheriff’s Pie.)

Simple Supper Served Fast

Simple Supper Served Fast

How do you use up leftover mashed potatoes? Post a comment or Tweet.

Send your leftovers to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, Cooking in Someone Else’s Kitchen, A Guide.

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One Ingredient, Three Ways: Potato Edition

This past weekend, when called upon to make something for the family’s Easter dinner, the Practical Cook had a little panic attack. Perhaps it is best described as a potato spasm. In charge of the spuds, my sacred duty was to show up with something that both tasted good and was no-fuss. Ever traveled with potato salad?

Tower of Yukon Golds

Tower of Yukon Golds

Part of the aforementioned potato spasm was simply deciding what to do, and with what type of potato. So many options. Mashed potatoes were out, too fussy to travel with. Twice-baked potatoes rock and travel well, but it was very hot this weekend. Ham’s natural companion is potato salad, but what kind?

Flat Italian Parsley!

Flat Italian Parsley!

Confession time, the Practical Cook loves most potato salads (**minus the ones with too much celery seed), but hates to make potato salad, particularly in quantity. Perhaps it’s a flashback to my short stint in a commercial setting, peeling 50 pounds of potatoes to fill a catering order.

But my potato woes are not the point here. The point is that potatoes are flexible to the point of being too flexible. One must maintain focus or get trapped in a sea of potato ideas.

Here are 3 ways to use potatoes.

1. Mashed Potatoes

As discussed last week in the Comfort Me with Sushi post, a good go-to mashed potato recipe is invaluable. This one is delicious and simple. I made them yesterday in less than 30 minutes, flavored with a bit of green garlic that I let bloom in the warm potato pot, sitting in the butter, before adding the potatoes back. Added a splash of buttermilk and chopped parsley. Light, bright, clean flavors, nice work Yukon Golds.

Herbed Mashed Potatoes: Great as a Side or as an Ingredient

Herbed Mashed Potatoes: Great as a Side or as an Ingredient

2. Secret Ingredient

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, which often happens in small quantities, freeze them. The next time you need a binder for something like salmon cakes or meatballs, there you go. You can make a cake or croquette from most anything with a protein, some mashed potatoes, an egg, and seasonings of your choice. Form it and fry it. If you have more leftover mashed potatoes, you can add an egg and seasonings (if needed), roll in bread crumbs and fry into potato cakes.

Yukon Golds in the Buff

Yukon Golds in the Buff

3. Springtime Potato Salad

Though I have no problem with mayo-based potato salad, I don’t like to bring salmonella to any potluck. I opted for a lighter version, based on Mark Bittman’s recipe in How to Cook Everything. This makes enough for a crowd. Peel, dice, and boil ~pounds of potatoes (Yukon Golds and fingerlings will be less starchy). While that’s happening, mix 1/3 cup olive oil, several Tablespoons of white wine or rice wine vinegar, and a healthy dose of mustard (I went with Dijon). Add a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Wisk away! When potatoes are done (~12 to 15 minutes), drain, rinse with cold water briefly, and then toss with vinaigrette. Add scallions (CSA), green garlic (CSA), parsley, whatever you’ve got on hand. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Springtime Potato Salad

Springtime Potato Salad

Do you love, hate, or fear potato salad? Do tell, the Practical Cook’s virtual door is always open: practical cook at gmail dot com

Coming up tomorrow, the first viewer question of the week, What is Greek Yogurt, and why do I care? As always, please feel free to submit questions here, via email, or via Twitter. No promises that I’ll answer my cell phone in the middle of the night West Coasters.

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