Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Last Act of a Desperate Potato - Crockpot Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Crockpot Caramelized Onions

He rode a blazing saddle
He wore a shining star ...

 "Well, can't you see that's the last act of a desperate man?"

"We don't care if it's the first act of "Henry V," we're leaving!"

Oh, how I adore Mel Brooks!

It is a Kissimmee Valley Sunday, and I am home and no reason to leave my house.  I need one day a week like this, just one.  No bra, no dental adhesive, no eyebrow pencil, no trip to Publix.  I cook, I knit, I drink coffee, I watch TV, I talk baby-talk to the furries.  I've got these potatoes and onions in the crockpot now, set on high for four hours, and bacon baking for the sweet and tangy chicken (but that's another blog post, yes).  I made some tuna fish salad for lunch.  I suggested watching movies because there's just so much Fox News and Food Network one can absorb in a weekend.  My vote was Mel Brooks - all of them, a glorious comedic marathon - but Rob said he was thinking of Guardians of the Galaxy, which we have not yet seen. (Nor will we see today, because apparently the DVD player died.  Requiescat in pace.)

Today's recipes are the last acts of desperate vegetables, especially the potatoes.  When I came down into the kitchen this morning, I found these:

Sprouting taters.  Some cooks will toss these as they are, but I was taught to peel and discard the sprouts, and rock on.  These potatoes had just started to sprout, and so the potatoes were still relatively firm.  By tomorrow, however, they would likely be past their prime.  So these potatoes were desperate to be cooked, as were a couple of onions that were starting to show a bit of fuzz.

Perfect opportunity to use the divided insert for my 6 quart crockpot, right?  Onions on one side, potatoes on the other.  I've also done this with the onions, and a half recipe of Pioneer Women's Burgundy Mushrooms.  Oh my, let me stop to swoon.  Then let me stop to lightly coat the inside of the crock with some non-stick spray.

Crockpot Garlic Mashed Potatoes

6 - 8 smallish gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons half and half
a couple of cloves smashed garlic
kosher salt, black pepper, and dried chopped chives

Combine all of these ingredients in the crock.  Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours.  Now add as much additional butter and half and half as you like, plus more salt and pepper to taste.  Beat the potatoes with an electric hand mixer.  Remove from the crockpot and set aside while the onions finish cooking. You can eat them like this or you can wait for the caramelized onions.

Crockpot Caramelized Onions

3 - 4 medium onions, sliced thin
4 tablespoons butter
kosher salt, black pepper, and a pinch of sugar

Combine all of these ingredients in the crock.  Cover and cook on high for 4 1/2 hours, until the onions are soft and sweet.

Now you have a tough decision to make.  Should you enjoy each dish separately, or fold the onions into the garlicky potatoes?

Not sure if you can see it in this photo, but I combined the two.  Very very good. But I could see eating those garlic mashed as is, and saving the onions for another noble purpose involving mushrooms and peas and Arborio rice - or just for topping a hamburger or steak.

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