Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mashed Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Parsley

Have I mentioned that I love Veg Cuisine's soy bleu cheese? That anything even remotely involving this vegan cheese is instantly made better? That I can eat it by the forkful? Oh, whoops, yes. I have no doubt mentioned this many times. So I present to you a case in point: blue cheese mashed potatoes. Adding the soy bleu transforms this most essential of all comfort foods into something worthy of a special occasion.

  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 cup crumbled vegan blue cheese (such as Veg Cuisine)
  • 1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Cut the potatoes into 2-inch chunks (but do not peel) and place in a large saucepan, along with the garlic cloves.  Cover with water and bring to a boil; continue to cook for 15 minutes, until tender.

2. Drain and transfer the potato mixture to a large bowl.  Add the blue cheese, milk, parsley, and black pepper.  Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.

Note: Because of the rustic feel of the potato peels, this is the kind of mashed potato dish that's fine with a few lumps.

These potatoes would be perfect served with Match pork and a tossed salad in balsamic vinaigrette for an elegant but simple little dinner.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 cup), Calories 284

Tasting Notes:
The blue cheese flavor was exactly what I hoped - noticeable and delicious, without being overpowering. I would have preferred creamier mashed potatoes (these were a touch dry) so recommend a bit more milk (I used soy) and perhaps a tablespoon of Earth Balance butter. The garlic flavor was unexpectedly strong but also delicious. 


Vegan extra:
Thinking about mashed potatoes as pretty much the essential comfort food got me thinking about other "essentials" in my vegan kitchen. Here are just a few:

Essential spice: I was asked recently which spice I use most often, and realized the answer is probably cumin. It goes in everything from American dishes to Indian-spiced ones, and everything in between.

If you want to try the quintessential cumin dish, try in a Moroccan carrot salad.

Essential snack: You just can't go wrong with pretzels. They are usually vegan by default, available everywhere and have saved my life (well, my hunger anyway) at many an airport or roadside convenience store. For that reason I don't always keep pretzels around the house, but when I do, you can bet I'll pull them out for a quick snack.

Essential cooking staple: There might be a few recipes on my blog without garlic (such as, well, desserts) but not many. Garlic makes pretty much any and every recipe better. If you want to give it a chance to shine on its own for once, roast a whole head in the oven and spread liberally over a baguette.

Essential convenience: For me this is a jar of bottled roasted bell peppers. I almost always have them on hand. Despite how easy it is to roast your own at home, its even easier just to twist off a lid. Even better, they make an instant side dish if you drizzle with high quality balsamic vinegar.

Essential superfood: If you want a super dose of beta carotene and vitamin C, reach for dried mango. Unlike other dried fruit, it's relatively low in calories (about 110 calories per serving), but packs a great nutrition punch.

Essential tool: My chef's knife of course! A gift from my husband, my Japanese hammered knife makes cooking every day feel like a special occasion. A vegan won't need to sharpen knives as often as someone cutting through flesh and bone, but do keep it sharp so you can tackle your squashes and potatoes and onions with ease.

Not essential, but always in my cabinet none-the-less: vegan caramel sundae syrup.

I can't get enough of this stuff, now that I've discovered it. Obviously amazing on any non-dairy ice cream.

Not so obviously, it's also sooo yummy whisked into a sauce and drizzled over tofu steaks.

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