I was an exchange student and today I was chatting with my AFS host mother on facebook and I mentioned that I could never tell whether she was making real or instant mashed potatoes. My host brother liked the instant one and I of course liked the homemade. Ginny's food tasted so good that she fooled both of us and it was impossible not to eat once or twice... I put on 26 pounds when I was an exchange student... The best way to adjust to a new culture is to jump... into the kitchen, don't you think?
Like the first time I saw a salad bar... I was amazed at the variety of food... it was right after I met my host family, coming back from the airport on the way to my new home. A salad bar over 20 years ago was just impossible to imagine having over here in my small Brazilian town... now it is so common.
So many stories... I hope my kids will build strong gastronomic memories the way I did, with my own family and with friends around the world.
This mashed potato recipe is very simple, it is the brown butter that makes it special.
Brown butter mashed potatoes
3 pounds (1.5 kg) potatoes, skin on and whole
1 cup milk (you can also use soy cream or half and half)
1 stick butter
1 small carrot, grated and cooked (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1) Put the potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan and add water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and then peel. Return potatoes into empty pan and mash with a potato masher. Add cooked carrot.
2) Melt butter in a small saucepan. Let it foam once, cook over low heat until it begins to brown. Then take off the heat and add milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes and cook until desired consistency. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish.