Mashed Potatoes

Cliff's been in a bit of a funk the past few months (years?), and while he still would come up with fiendishly clever dishes, it was interspersed with days where he'd be too sapped to do much except stare off into space and predict doom. I could tell he was out of his funk, because he proposed that we make a dinner special that could quite easily qualify as a feast, as pictured above. What is it?

It's a meatloaf, with lots of shiitake mushroom gravy, oven roasted garden peas, and creamy mashed potatoes. Also? It's 100% gluten free. We adore our gluten free folk, and try our hardest to make specials free of the wicked 5: wheat, spelt, barley, rye, or oats.

The peas were too easy to think about. Once shelled, they're tossed in a bit of oil, salt, and garlic powder, and then roasted in the oven at 350 F for about 25 minutes. The meatloaf and the gravy are both our own creations (Cliff makes meatloaf, I make gravy) and are a fairly tightly guarded secret. Also, they involve a ton of ingredients, which I don't fancy having to type out right now.

But the mashed potatoes? Those I will share with you freely. Warning: they're rich as all get-out, and you'll find yourself going into the fridge after everyone has gone to bed to sneak a few more spoonfuls. Trust me, I've watched it happen!

If you use Idaho Russet Burbank potatoes, you'll want to peel them. If you use a thin-skinned waxy potato, like red bliss or yukon gold, you can keep the skin on.

5 lbs potatoes, whole
6 cups coconut milk (that's about 3 cans of the stuff)
1 1/2 TB salt
1/2 tsp black pepper (fresh ground is best)
Water, for boiling

Boil the potatoes in gently bubbling water. You don't want them to get waterlogged, so make sure the heat on the stove is medium to medium low. You can use high heat to bring the water to a boil, but as soon as you see bubbles rapidly breaking the surface, ease on back the heat, and let them gently cook.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them well. Dump the potatoes into the pot again. Gently mash them up with a potato masher, wooden spoon, whatever. Pour in the coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Stir it around until it's completely mixed in. You see, because you're working with hot potatoes, you don't have to bother to heat up the coconut.

And that's it.

It shocked me how simple it was. I made sure to get every last drop out of the pot, because this is precious stuff we're talking about here. You can eat them right there when you're done stirring in the coconut milk and salt and pepper.

Variations include but are not limited to, adding roasted garlic, roasted red peppers, sweet corn, green peas, or anythign else you can think of.
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