By Jeff Potter
A recipe excerpt from Cooking for Geeks
This simple mashed potato recipe uses the microwave for cooking the potatoes. If you’re in the anti-microwave category, consider this: cooking a potato or any other starchy root vegetable requires gelatinizing the starches in the vegetable.
For this to occur, two things need to happen: the starch granules need to get hot enough to literally melt, and they need to be exposed to water so that the granules absorb and swell up, which causes the texture of the tissue to change. Luckily, the temperature at which most starches undergo the gelatinization process is below the boiling point of water, and there’s enough water naturally present in potatoes for this to happen without any intervention needed. Try popping a sweet potato in your microwave for a few minutes – fast, easy, and healthy!
3 to 4 medium (600g) Red potatoes
1/2 cup (120g) Sour cream
1/3 cup (85g) milk
4 teaspoons (20g) Butter
2 teaspoons (2g) Finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon (1g) Salt (2 large pinches)
1/4 teaspoon (1g) ground pepper
Step 1: Microwave until cooked, about six minutes.
Step 2: After cooking, cut the potatoes into small pieces that can be mashed with the back of a fork. Add the other ingredients and mash together.
For a tangy version, trying substituting plain yogurt for a portion of the sour cream.
Different types of potatoes have different amounts of starch. Varieties with high starch content (e.g., russets, the brown ones with rough skin) turn out lighter and fluffier when baked and are gener- ally better for baked or mashed potatoes. Lower- starch varieties (red or yellow potatoes, typically smaller and smooth-skinned) hold their shape better and are better suited for applications in which you want the potato to stay intact, such as potato salad. Of course, there’s still a lot of room for personal preference. When it comes to mashed potatoes, I prefer a coarse texture to the creamy, perfectly smooth potatoes so often seen in movie scenes associated with Thanksgiving, so I tend to use red potatoes.
Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter
Win a Free E-Book!
This holiday season, CRAFT is all about bringing fresh gluten-free ideas to the communal table. Add your own by submitting your gluten-free recipe photos to our CRAFT flickr pool with the tag “craftglutenfree” for a random chance to win a free e-book version of Cooking for Geeks!
Come back tomorrow for our finale recipe, Jeff Potter’s gluten-free poached pears in red wine from Cooking for Geeks.
About the Author:
Jeff Potter has done the cubicle thing, the startup thing, and the entrepreneurial thing, and through it all maintained his sanity by cooking for friends. He studied computer science and visual art at Brown University.