2 December 2010

Two Sides for my Bucket List Menu

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

We all have a bucket list of recipes we want to try from magazines, cookbooks, our blogging friends or wherever you find your inspiration. If you're like me you will have an infinite list of recipes in the wings. This week I have tried to put a small dent in "the list" by recreating a few of these dishes that have been waiting patiently for their moment to shine.

If you have been following More Than Burnt Toast you will know that I have been creating personal challenges based on a theme to infuse new life into my cooking adventures. Even every day food should be an adventure either with new ideas, or experimenting with a new cuisine. Every day we should be excited about what we are eating even if it just means making use of a wonderful find in your culinary exploration. With these personally imposed challenges my own culinary skills have been rejuvenated and are back on track and I am once again inspired. With the holidays coming this is the perfect time of year to pump up our kitchens into high gear!

For the past few days I have been sharing with you a menu from beginning to end.. from starters to dessert... from my "bucket list".  We started off with an hors d'oeuvres that made our tastebuds sing with citrus notes...Crab Cake Sliders with Lemon Remoulade. Following that was the piece de resistance, a classic Roast Chicken with Thyme Gravy. By chance the recipe chosen for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club fit right in with my menu with a  nutty, almost smoky flavoured Wild Rice Dressing with Roasted Chestnuts and Cranberries.

Next we move on to the sides. We often find potatoes here on MTBT. It seemed a natural progression that you have to have mashed potatoes with gravy. Everybody knows how good mashed potatoes are but if you really want to impress your friends and family try them with browned butter. You won’t believe how much flavour is locked into a stick of butter but you have to believe these are the best-mashed spuds you’ll ever have! This recipe comes from Canadian chef Michael Smith and does not disappoint.

This is followed by a Mock Spinach Souffle from the pages of Thyme for Cooking - The Blog  about cooking and her life in France by our very own Katie . I thought it would be the perfect addition with the right amount of colour and flavour to compliment the menu. Now on to the recipes....

Mock Spinach Souffle

**Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes **

Two pounds or so of unpeeled potatoes (about four large)
A stick of salted butter (4 oz/1/2 cup/113 grams)
A few pinches of nutmeg
A sprinkle or two of salt and pepper

Cut the potatoes into large chunks then steam, boil or microwave them until they’re tender. Drain well.

Meanwhile, toss the butter into a small saucepot and heat it until it melts over medium heat. Because butter contains as much as twenty percent water it will then begin to steam and foam. Once the water has evaporated the foam will subside and the butter’s temperature will begin to rise. The milk fat solids that are one or two percent of the butter will then begin to brown. Continue watching as it begins foaming a second time. Swirl it gently, watching the color, until it turns golden brown and releases the aroma of toasting nuts. Immediately pour the browned butter into a bowl to stop it from browning further.

When the potatoes are tender mash in the butter, nutmeg and seasonings. Taste and season a bit more if needed. Then watch the bowl empty!

Note: This recipe is very forgiving. On his show I saw Michael add some milk to the butter to stop the browning process.

**Mock Spinach Souffle**

1 package frozen spinach, 8 - 9 oz, or the equivalent (250 gr)
2 eggs or 2 egg whites
1/2 cup (125 mL)Greek yogurt
1/4 cup (59 mL) grated Parmesan
pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5 mL) olive oil

Thaw spinach (use microwave, hot water or saucepan) and squeeze out excess moisture. In medium bowl beat eggs well. Add yogurt, Parmesan and nutmeg. Mix well. Add spinach and mix well. Lightly oil a small baking dish. (I use a 7 inch square glass baking dish) Pour in spinach and bake at 400F (200C) for 30 minutes or until set. Remove and serve directly from baking dish.

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  1. I've never heard of Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes! I love brown butter and mashed potatoes!! These have to be amazing!!

    I have my Top 50 list of things to make. I crossed a few off this year but not as many as I would have liked to!

  2. Sides are truly my favorite part of any meal and I would definitely be down with these at dinner any day. Especially the browned butter mashed potatoes. Those must be divine.

  3. Two beautiful dishes. I have seen Michael Smith make these potatoes many times and am happy to hear how tasty they are from you. Did you like the other dish, too? Both look spectacular. I love this challenge. I think I will make it my new year's resolution to do the pile I am still going through beside me.
    (PS - did you see my Christmas cookies on Lazaro's site today? It is my first guest post and was also my first recipe consolidation. I plan to do more of those, as well. I know you do that sometimes, and it is really smart, and effective.)

  4. Love the nutmeg in the mashed potatoes and the mock souffle looks really delish!

  5. I also have plenty of recipes to test... Both side dishes look very scrumptious!



  6. Wow a whole stick of butter!
    They both sound highly appealing, but I would sway towards the mock spinach souffle since I love the Greek yogurt addition and I heart spinach. :) mmm!

  7. Val...ohhhh do I know what you mean about the vastness of your culinary bucket list. I have a filing cabinet full of goodies that shall one day get my spatula. LOL.

    I'm glad you shared one of Michael's recipes...he's a very intuitive cook and this recipe sings flavour all over it ;o)

    Ciao for now and have a great day,

  8. Both sides sound delicious--perfect to accompany many main dishes. I'm anxious to try the mock spinach souffle. I don't have a spinach recipe anything like it.


  9. The spinach souffle with yogurt really interests my 'weight-watching" heart. The potatoes sound wonderfully rich and grand for a family dinner. Sometimes sides are more fun than the entree.

  10. You can keep the meat Val, with all these delicious sides, I will be quite content!

  11. Both of these dishes sound wonderful. As a matter of fact everything you've prepared for this meal sounds wonderful. The spinach "souffle" is especially interesting. Spinach recipes are hard to come by and I'm more than willing to give this one a try. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  12. I think my jaw literally dropped at the sight of those browned butter mashed potatoes. I know I drooled.

  13. Brown butter mash????? Now this is a side I could eat entirely on its own! And that spinach soufflé with the Greek yoghurt looks just as good...in fact I want it all! Thank you for sharing these Val!

  14. The brown butter mash I am doing one of these evenings...but your spinach is going to be prepared this sunday for my husband's brunch where all his friends from school days will be there with their wives. I was looking for a side an this is just perfect. Thank you Val! Oh by the way I dd not win the Pom challenge...boo hoo!

  15. Those are fantastic sides, Val!! We are so very traditional in my family - same delicious things year after year. One day I dream of doing a completely unique holiday meal and I'd love to include these scrumptious things. :-) So VERY glad you get to see your daughter soon. I know she is such a delight to you. :-)

  16. Considering all of the crazy ways I like to vary mashed potatoes, I have to wonder how I never thought of this. Love the idea. I'm trying this the next time I make mashers!

    Seeing Bucket List and mashed potatoes together just made me think of buckets of mashed potatoes!

  17. Both of these sides look truly delicious Val!

  18. Bless you. This is a slimmed down version of a spinach souffle'. Yay! I'm making it.

  19. This is an awesome post. Eating should be an adventure and most importantly, enjoyable. Your post is proof that is indeed enjoyable.

    Like you, I have a bucket list of recipes that I want to try. My folder gets fatter and fatter. I am working on it.

    Cheers to you!

  20. I never thought of making brown butter potatoes. That must bring a great taste to them. Love your list so far.

  21. I'm in awe of your organization. I have bookmarks here and there, and tagged pages along with torn recipes in folders. What a mess! Great idea for the potatoes. Love brown butter. I tried a new method of making mashed potatoes, too, but the photos have been sitting for a couple of months. See? No organization.

  22. Brown butter mashed potatoes. Why didn't I think of that. Fabulous meal so far... Dessert is around the corner I predict. GREG

  23. You can never have too many potato dishes. This sounds wonderful as does the spinach souffle from Katie. Sorry I have been absent for so long. I have been laid low by a horrible cold and traveling. Hope to get back in the swing soon.

  24. Yum! Both these side dishes sound great. I love to have different side dishes with dinner.

  25. i foolishly thought mashed potatoes couldn't be made any better--i was wrong!

  26. Super idea with the brown butter, Val. It never would have occurred to me, but I bet the flavor is lovely!

  27. wow! what a delicious recipe! I just love it :)

  28. Those may be the most awesome mashed potatoes I've ever seen! I like mine au-naturel, but I can handle browned butter!

  29. HI

    Great recipe and I think there are many people want make this recipe at home.


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