Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner…Blogger style!

5 11 2011

Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes by The Pioneer Woman

I’m very blessed to be carried along by a fabulous bunch of folks on-line.  I’m not even sure there’s a name for the group…it’s a mailing list of like-minded-always-learning home chefs-in-training.  I can’t always play, but I truly appreciate the continued invitations!  When the idea of a Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner came up, I knew I had to jump in!  Bless Phyl, I was assigned “Mashed Potatoes”.  Trust me…with my schedule lately, mashed potatoes was even a challenge!

I know…I know… Mashed Potatoes is elementary!!  That’s why I’m stepping out of the box a little and doing a Potato Mash-Off between 2 highly recommended recipes:  Ina Garten’s Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, and The Pioneer Woman’s Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes (my personal favorite).  I reduced both recipes by half on a night when I was planning to roast a chicken and we could try the potatoes side by side alone, and then sauced.


Both recipes start out with Yukon Gold, or other potatoes for mashing,  boiled in salted water.  Ina uses milk heated together with the butter and The Pioneer Woman uses room temperature cream cheese.  Ina finishes her potatoes with buttermilk to achieve creaminess in the end.  Okay.  Got it.  Grab your spoons and taste, please…

Our “blind” taste-tester was my hubby, Bruce.  After tasting both samples he announced that there was no single winner, really.  The potatoes tasted different enough that it was like comparing valencia oranges and naval oranges.  Bruce felt Ina Garten’s potato recipe had a more distinctive potato flavor.  It would be a really good mashed potato anytime “just potato” flavor is desired.  That being said, he said if he were to choose one he could eat without gravy or sauce, it would be The PW’s recipe.  The creamy richness of the cream cheese brightens the color and the flavor of the potato.  It’s kind of like a mashed, scalloped potato flavor…they totally enchant me…and I can’t bring myself to use quite as much butter as she does!  LOL!

Now, the final taste-test…sauced!  Bruce scored the recipes about the same as his earlier rating.  He really enjoyed both servings, but still favored Pioneer Woman’s recipe more.  Admittedly, Bruce could simply favor the Pioneer Woman’s recipe out of a sense of familiarity.  This is, after all, the recipe I use for holiday potatoes.  Ina’s recipe is much closer to the recipe I use day to day for mashed potatoes, so it would seem that recipe would be familiar as well.

Which takes me to the question of…how do  you select a “favorite”?  Is it the recipe you use faithfully, day in and out because it tastes really good and it’s reliable?  Or is it the recipe you put extra work in to, a few times a year, when you want something a little more special?  The Pioneer Woman’s recipe is my favorite.  I wish I could fix these any time we have mashed potatoes, but there’s a LOT of dairy fat in this recipe, and we must be moderate in all things…

Thank you Kayte for keeping me in this loop!  I loved participating!!