Happy Friday! Just popping in to wish you guys a happy weekend and to share these teeny apple crumbles, up on Verily Magazine today. These little guys were one of the first mini-fied “for two” recipes I made for this blog, and they’re still one of my all-time favorites. They’re unbelievably easy to make (seriously, you probably don’t need a recipe) and they have all the pairings I love in a little 4-ounce package: crisp textures on top matched with soft and comforting underneath, sweet notes with savory ones, warm gooey fall-spiced filling with cold ice cream. I’m especially in love with the cheddar in the crumble topping — it might be off-putting to some, but I promise it’s so delightful. Far from being jarring, the cheddar melts into a subtle nutty, savory note that’s barely but happily noticeable, and adds a little chewy resiliency to the crust that I adore. You can find the full recipe here. I hope you all have fantastic weekends!
So this may seem odd, given my great and well-documented love for Southern comfort food, but I’m not usually the biggest fan of mashed potatoes. To me they’re like the vanilla extract of side dishes — potentially delicious, but usually in need of a partner.
When I was a kid, my dad used to drive me to KFC as a treat once in awhile after piano lessons or swim practices. Man, I got all up in that meal. Two piece meal, all legs, Original, mashed potatoes and coleslaw, please, thank you. But I’m pretty sure I spent half my time (after tearing into those Original chicken legs like a starved shipwreck survivor) trying to figure out how to make those mashed potatoes more palatable. Leftover fried chicken bits mixed in? Spread thick on a biscuit? With … the coleslaw? (I wish I could say I didn’t try that, but I did. … And I liked it.) However you slice it, the mashed potatoes were the one thing on that plate I didn’t devour with single-minded ferocity.
I realize I’m making it sound like I was very into my KFC experience. I was. I was very into KFC.
Anyway. I’ve come to realize that making mashed potatoes from scratch does a thing or two or trillion for them. But a few months ago, I came across these glorious-looking roasted garlic smashed potatoes on The Baker Chick, and that was a real game-changer.
First, this salt potato thing is genius. Boil the potatoes in well-salted water, pasta-style, and the result is a flavorful skin and a creamier potato. Smash it all up with butter and milk, leaving the skins
because you’re lazy because they’re nutritious and have fiber and such. Then, add to that a couple of cloves of golden fried garlic. (That should have been one awesome head of roasted garlic, but I got impatient.) Finally, throw in one pan of sage leaves crisped up in brown butter? It turns out mashed potatoes can do the damn thing all on their own after all.
Here are three situations that I should have learned how to handle better at some point in my upbringing but never did. Ready?
1. Sharing free food. Or, how to go to that lunch talk with the pizza from that place you like and wait in line without freaking out about whether that person ahead of you is going to get the last piece of pepperoni pizza or wondering how you can subtly take extra to save for dinner because you’re cheap.
2. Other people giving me free food. Or, how to politely accept one of whatever has just been offered you by a friend, then eat it, placidly, without immediately convincing yourself that what you just ate was the most delicious thing on the planet and you are so missing out on life and happiness because you could only have one.
3. Those two situations combined into a mega-situation, or, what happened last Christmas, when a neighbor dropped by my parents’ house and left us a sleeve of cookies – big, cheerful, cranberry-studded shortbread cookies with flecks of sunny orange zest. Man, those cookies were so good. Either because I couldn’t get them anywhere else but from this goddess-baker-neighbor, or because I had to share them with the rest of my family, I swear to God those cookies were the best cookies I’d ever had. I coveted the crap out of them. I calculated how many I could fairly eat without hogging them … and then I ate some more. After I’d had (more than) my fair share, I stared at them wherever they were and stared at each of my family members as they ate theirs. It was so normal.
Please still be my friend.