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Mashed Potatoes 101

Starchy baking or russet potatoes are the best types to mash because of their light, floury texture when cooked. Yellow-fleshed potatoes have a medium starch level and can also be mashed, yielding denser, but still appealing mashed potatoes.
To mash, peel and half or quarter the potatoes, depending on size. Gentle boil them in a generous amount of water until very tender. Drain well, and then mash. (Only add other ingredients after mashing the potatoes, or they may cool and become lumpy). Once mashed, whip in melted butter, hot milk and salt and pepper, to taste. (The warm butter and milk will also ensure the potatoes remain lump free). For every 2 lbs. potatoes, use about 2 to 3 Tbsp. of butter and 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk. To add flair to this standard approach, see others ways to flavour mashed potatoes at right. 
  1. Saffron Mashed: To make these elegant yellow coloured mashers, sprinkle in a pinch or two of saffron threads to the potatoes as they boil.
  2. Olive Oil and Parmesan Mashed: Instead of butter, mash potatoes with extra virgin olive oil and mix in grated Parmesan cheese to taste. Other Italian cheese such as asiago, gorgonzola or fontina could be used in place of the Parmesan.
  3. Garlic Mashed: Add several cloves of thickly sliced garlic to your potatoes as they cook, or add coarsely chopped roasted cloves after potatoes are mashed.
  4. Buttermilk and Chive Mashed: Use warm buttermilk instead of regular milk when whipping potatoes. Mix in fresh chopped chives just before serving.

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