Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Iced Potatoes

Last weekend, I'd planned to make some Shepherd's Pie. Very yummy stuff. We'd prepared and boiled the potatoes and then needed to take a family member to the hospital (everything is fine now).

So, I did what any normal person would do, put the potatoes into the fridge. You know, that really nifty fridge/freezer I just posted about. Well, we'd just plugged it in and I turned it to fridge mode. Hooray! The potatoes will be fine until I get to mash them into fluffy goodness.

Or, so I thought. Little did I know that a small black button that was depressed meant "quick freeze". See, the controls are in Spanish. I don't speak or read Spanish. And, it didn't occur to me that there would even be a quick freeze option.

I check the potatoes the following morning and find them to be frozen solid. Really solid. Harder than I'd ever seen anything frozen outside of a lab where we were playing with liquid nitrogen solid.


This is when I discovered the button and took the fridge/freezer out of super freeze mode.

I left the cut and boiled potatoes in the fridge for another 24 hours. It took that long for them to get to the point where I could start to work with them. I could tell immediately that there was a problem.

See, like any critic of cryogenics will tell you, freezing does bad, bad things to cellular walls. They get a bit damaged. The potatoes were watery. Still, I didn't want to just toss 2.5kg of potatoes.

I went to work. First, the basics, I popped them into my stand mixer and let them have it with the blade attachment. My little stand mixer is a 20 quart Hobart. Takes at least two strong people to pick it up. Three is better. Once, for Christmas, I made twelve dozen chocolate chip cookies in a single batch. The mixer didn't even seem to notice. Oh, I love it.

Anyway, as usual, I digress. Needless to say, those potatoes got seriously beaten.

I was wrong about them being watery. They were very watery. These potatoes were begging me to feed them to our pigs. I wasn't about to give up so easily.

I toss the mashed watery potatoes into strainers for let them sit there for a couple of hours.

The potatoes didn't disappoint me. They gave up a lot of liquid. A lot.

Unfortunately, they still had a strange texture. An unacceptable texture. I had more work to do. So, I got a nice pot and dumped the miscreant potatoes into it. Their punishment for being watery wasn't over.

Twenty minutes of stirring, a lot of evaporation, a lot of butter and some seasoning later ... and I had mashed potatoes that were acceptable for use as a topping on Shepherd's Pie.

Please note: I did not say "good", "great", "fluffy", I said "acceptable".

Even so, I'd won. I'd managed to save the potatoes from being pig food.

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