Welcome to December 12, 2012!
12/12/12 is either lucky or the end of the world as we know it according to the ancient predictions of Nostradamus and the Mayans.
Considered auspicious by some, doomed by others, and just plain easy to remember by many. The number certainly holds significance in human existence through the millennia, a fact of which there is indisputable evidence:
Apart from there being 12 hours of day and night, and 12 months in the year in the Roman calendar, there 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 Apostles, 12 days of Christmas, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 old testament prophets… you get the idea.
Some say the day symbolizes love, others completeness or fulfillment. You can read more about some ways the day is celebrated, dreaded or otherwise acknowledged at GlobalPost.
To me, it means that there are only 12 more days until Christmas Eve and I better get busy! Is that shallow of me? Sorry There are presents to buy and cards to address – old school, maybe, but I think its important to send close friends and family a real-live greeting card that you can hold in your hands and tape to the wall. But, more importantly, I’m acting as the General Contractor on a bathroom remodel that’s gone two weeks longer than planned (no surprise there) and needs to be done by Sunday so we can clear out of College Girl’s bathroom. Super EXCITED that our girl is coming home from her five-month Study Abroad stint in Japan and all of us in her space is probably not the welcome home she is expecting.
With only 12 more days till Christmas Eve, I’m also celebrating with a recipe for one of America’s favorite comfort foods and a staple on the holiday table: Mashed Potatoes. And, I wanted them to be special mashed potatoes. What are the most extravagant mashed potatoes you can think of? Lobster Mash and Truffle Mashed potatoes immediately come to mind. Totally rich and decadent, but also very pricey mashed potatoes. Maine Lobster tails cost upwards of $35.00 each and truffles are considered the most expensive food in the world. European white truffles sell for as much as $3,600 a pound and I can’t afford that – we need to pay for this bathroom!
So… with the help of Da Rosario White Truffle Oil (1.76 ounces for $14.99, purchased at We Olive) I devised a way to impart that distinctive earthy, umami truffle taste to mashed potatoes without sacking the college fund AND with little guilt about the amount of fat and calories being consumed in the process. These mashed potatoes are a perfect accompaniment for the beef or pork that a lot of folks favor at Christmas, and complements turkey as well. They have that special touch worthy of a holiday dinner, but are low-fat and equally suitable for everyday meals.
Low Fat Truffled Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Mushroom Bits
Totally trufflicious in every way: Fluffy and creamy, yet secretly low-fat, these truffled mashed potatoes won’t break the bank, but WILL leave you feeling like a million bucks.
Active time: 30 minutes Total time: 50 minutes Yield: 6 servings
1-1/2 lb. Idaho® Russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1″ inch cubes
3 tablespoons Labne Greek yogurt cheese*
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons truffle oil
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 teaspoon salt*
1. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover the potatoes. Heat over high heat until boiling. lower heat to medium high and boil for about 15 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Let cool.
2. Run potatoes through a potato ricer (best for really fluffy potatoes) or use a potato masher for a chunkier mash. Mix in the butter, truffle oil, Labne cheese and milk. Use reserved cooking liquid to thin if necessary – especially if potatoes will be in a warmer until serving.
While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the Crispy Mushroom Bits (recipe below).
Crispy oyster mushroom bits:
4-5 ounces oyster mushrooms, chopped (1-1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon butter
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
1. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread mushrooms on baking sheet, drizzle with oil/butter mixture, stir the mushrooms with a spoon to make sure they’re evenly coated.
2.Bake for 5 minutes. Remove and stir. Return to oven to bake for a minute or two more until crispy brown. Watch carefully.
Serve the mashed potatoes warm with crispy oyster mushroom bits sprinkled on top.
*Cook’s Notes: Labne Cheese has less calories than heavy cream: 30 calories per tablespoon versus 51 calories and is very low in sodium compared to most cheese – only 15 mg. per 2 tablespoons. I add very little salt because of my husband’s sodium restriction, but you can increase the salt to 1 teaspoon or to your preference.
Here’s a little about the grower of the oyster mushrooms that I used in this recipe. How cool is the way they are grown?
Oyster Mushrooms from Kane Family Farms
I was drawn to this mushroom “display” and, even though I was looking for lobster mushrooms, I had to find out more about this grower and purchase some mushrooms right from the source. Kane’s Family Farm is a real find at the SoCo farmers markets (also Whittier, and Temple City), they specialize in 100% naturally grown Haas, Bacon, and Fuerte avocados and Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms and have been featured in an LA Times article on farmers markets and voted best avocados in Orange Coast magazine’s 2012 Best Of Orange Coast issue. Kane Family Farms is exactly that – run by two teachers, Clifford and Marisa Kane, and their 11-year-old daughter, Sophia. Faced with education budget cutbacks threatening their livelihood, Clifford and Melissa decided to take the plunge and start a new career as avocado growers when they purchased a home surrounded by 70 Hass and Bacon avocado trees on a terraced hillside in La Habra Heights that had been producing avocados since 1939. Farming was not entirely new to Marisa as her family grows mushrooms in Ontario, Canada, and she was eager to return to agriculture.
Disclosure: I was compensated for developing this recipe by Idaho Potato Commission, any opinions expressed are my own.