Daily Archives: March 8, 2010

Roasted Garlic & Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Before we started dating, Chad and I once had a huge debate over who made the best mashed potatoes. He loves his garlic mashed potatoes and I love my white cheddar, sour cream mashed potatoes. We planned a taste test for our co-workers and both sides had supporters (Jeremy was totally on my team). It got ugly. I told him people weren’t going to pick him because he’s mean and he said I’m only nice to people because I’m the anti-Christ and I’m just trying to gain support.

My boyfriend called me the anti-Christ. Romantic.

Long story short: we decided not to have a competition. No one apartment should have that quantity of mashed potatoes. This isn’t my signature white cheddar mashed potatoes, but my roasted garlic cheddar mashed potatoes. Still very yummy!

4 large or 6 small russet potatoes
1 C grated cheddar cheese
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh-ground pepper
3 cloves roasted garlic, smashed

You can find the instructions for roasting garlic on the garlic-roasted asparagus page, but here they are again: Preheat your oven to 350 and chop the top off the head of garlic. Put the garlic in a small dish (I use a super small souflée dish) and drizzle olive oil over top. I usually throw a tiny bit of salt on top to enhance the garlic flavor. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant and soft.

While the garlic is in the oven, chop and boil the potatoes in salted water. Then shred the cheeses and set aside. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, take out 3 cloves and smash on a cutting board to form a paste. Dump the butter, cheese, garlic, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Spoon the boiled potatoes into the bowl and mash with your favorite potato masher. Do you have a favorite?

Chad’s absolute favorite is his mother’s. She inherited it from her grandmother. It’s sturdy metal and could probably mash rocks. Chad has already made it clear that when, God forbid, his mom passes away, he is taking the potato masher. Probably fearing that he’d try to off her, she bought him this one for Christmas. It’s not metal like hers, but it’s a similar shape. This seems to be the best mashing design since it has a large surface area which doesn’t allow for big hunks of potato to squeeze through the gaps between prongs. I have a masher like that and while I don’t use it for potatoes, I do use it when I mash whole tomatoes for sauce.

Did I really just write a paragraph about potato masher designs?

Top with a grind or two of fresh pepper and nosh away. Feel comforted and at home. Make these for your boyfriend or girlfriend so you can prove that you’re not the anti-Christ, you’re just awesome. And you might be gathering a following so you like, maybe bring down the world. Or something.

Pork Ribs & MY Rib Rub

Firstly, I have to say thanks to all the readers. I thought I’d have, oh, 12. But then I kept seeing the number of views for the day go higher and higher. EIGHTY-EIGHT views on March 7. Wow. Thanks, readers, for your interest and support. It makes me excited to blog and more determined to do a post every day (didja notice? I’ve been trying. No promises…but I’m trying). I’m thrilled to think that y’all are reading and even more thrilled to think you might try a recipe. Thank you. Now let’s talk about ribs. (Mom, don’t feel obligated to read this post.)

Every barbecue-lover has a preference about ribs. Some like beef, some like pork, some like spicy, some (hi there!) are too wimpy for it. Some are pro-barbecue sauce, some are strictly rub people. I’d like to say that I’m an equal-opportunity rib eater, but alas that’s not true. I simply can’t handle super spicy food and beef ribs are typically on the tough side and give me a stomachache. So I lean toward pork ribs and I’m a flip-flopper on the rub vs sauce debate. I’m really fine with both or just the rub. I always use a rub though, wet or dry, and I think fellow barbecue-lovers will love mine. I will say that if you go by regional barbecue divides, mine is closest to Kansas City-style. If you’ve never made ribs at home, do it!

There are just so many reasons to make ribs at home, folks. 1. You control the spiciness–a factor important to spicy and nonspicy people alike. 2. You don’t have to risk getting the lesser cuts of meat when you eat dinner late. Ever go to a rib joint and get the tougher ribs because you got there late? Such disappointment! Not so at home. 3. Possibly the most important reason: no one will care if you have barbecue sauce on your face, shirt, skirt, forearms, or in your hair. Messy eaters, enjoy. 4. You also get to make them for family and feel awesome. When you make delicious food, do you ever get so excited and proud of yourself that you walk around all puffed up and arrogant? Confession: I do. It happened most recently when I made my first batch of salted butter caramels. It also happened long ago when I first made these ribs.

1 full rack of pork back ribs*

Kristen the Carnivore’s Rib Rub (*This is plenty for 2 racks of ribs or 1 rack & extra)

1 Tbsp chili powder
3 Tbsp paprika
1/2 Tbsp chipotle
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp onion powder
3 Tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 275. Stir all the rub ingredients together in a bowl. Smell it. Love it. Rinse and dry the ribs and sprinkle on a few drops of liquid smoke (or liquid mesquite smoke). This is optional but the liquid smoke is delicious if you are cooking these in the oven and not outside on a grill. Now apply one-third of the rub mixture. Use your fingers to press it into the surface. Flip the ribs over and sprinkle on more of the rub (you will use 1/2 of the entire batch of rub for one rack). Put the whole rack of ribs on a baking sheet with a long strip of aluminum foil on it. Wrap the foil around the ribs like a package and cook for an hour and a half.

When you remove the ribs from the oven, unwrap and toss the top of the foil. Flip the ribs over and cook for another hour and a half. This is so easy to remember, no?

When you’re done cooking, let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into individual ribs or batches. Top with your favorite barbecue sauce or don’t!

It’s best to serve this with, um, mashed potatoes and broccoli or mac and cheese and a big salad. I wish I could tell you that we did make broccoli. I wish I could tell you Chad didn’t make more deep-fried mushrooms. I wish I could tell you that. But life’s not a fairy tale and, um, I myself may have just eaten these with water because I added a little too much chipotle powder.

The point is that you won’t be tied to Tony Roma’s if you make these at home. Try it!