Monday, June 19, 2006

My cooking tip for the year

Are you ready?

Never ever make mashed potatoes in your blender or food processor.

I have been adhering to my baby food Bible for a few months now and have been consulting it for every single thing that I have made for my sweet baby girl, even before I steamed green beans.

However, I didn't bother to look in it before making mashed potatoes, since, of course, I've made mashed potatoes like a million times. Duh!

So today I stopped at Kroger to exchange some formula that I bought and I picked up some potatoes to make tonight for her and for us for dinner.

By the way, in case anyone is curious about what formula we settled on, we decided to give Nestle Good Start a try after giving her Enfamil Lipil since Day 1 since it's what we got free from the pediatrician. She never really relished it like she did my breast milk, and while I know breast is best, we decided to see if she liked Good Start a little bit better. Oh, yes. She does. Today was the first day since we started weaning that she has drank all of her bottles and eaten all of her solid foodies. As of today, we're down to morning nursing and night nursing only. I'm going to give it until the end of the week and if all is still well, I'm going to pack up my breast pump and all the accessories. I don't miss pumping a bit, and my milk supply adjusted quickly. The first couple of days was the hardest...I was really uncomfortable a couple of times, but it was just for a few days. I have some stash left in the freezer, and as soon as that's gone, I'm going to take out my freezer milk storage boxes and pack those away as well. Yes, it's sad that it's the end of an era, but as one of the posters said, I really want to end nursing on a GOOD note, not a bad one where I'm resentful of my pump. I want to make sure that I feel good about pumping so I can do it for baby #2! And I'm really treasuring the nursing sessions with her when she first wakes and right before she goes to sleep. It's very sweet.

So back to our story...tonight after dinner, I pop the taters in the microwave, scoop out the insides, throw it in the food processor and happily blend away. After about a minute, it started to resemble papier mache. I thought, well, maybe I'll try a little skim milk. Nope. I added some water. Even worse. I finally stopped and decided to try to scoop it into the ice cube trays. Ha! I finally tasted it, since of course that's my rule...and I decided there was no way I was giving this crud to my daughter.

I couldn't figure out what happened. I have made mashed potatoes so many times and they have come out perfect! I've even made them in mass...I boiled and mashed a 10 lb bag last fall when my mother-in-law passed away and they were fine...so why did I fail with two little measly spuds?

The answer was in Super Baby Food on page 457.

"You can try using your blender, but it may cause the potatoes to take on a plastic consistency."

Uh huh.

So, here are my top 10 rules for cooking, all learned from experience...and there's a story behind each and every one of these rules:

1. Never use a food processor or blender to make mashed potatoes.
2. Never ever try to bake a cheesecake without milk if the recipe calls for milk.
3. Recipes off the internet are never a good idea unless they come highly recommended by an actual human being.
4. Always make extra meringue if you are entering your key lime pie in a cooking contest, aka taking the pie over to the house of your future in-laws, so that when your meringue shrinks, it doesn't look like a pitiful white island on a smooth green sea.
5. Always let your egg whites come to room temperature before whipping them into meringue if you actually want it to resemble meringue.
6. When cooking anything on the stove with sugar in it and the recipe says stir constantly, it really means it.
7. Buying generic is fine...except for your refrigerated ready-made pie crusts. Pillsbury will win every time and I can't explain it.
8. Cake flour is the best way to make cakes.
9. Every kitchen should have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Period. There is no substitute.

And last but not least...

10. A clove of garlic is never to be confused, ever, with a bulb of garlic, unless you want your house to smell like a garlic farm.

2 Comments:

Blogger Suz said...

rule #7 can be altered to include Hill Country Fare (HEB generic) brand. Stuff is GOLD, I tells ya. A little ol' lady at the church bake fair clued me into that one.

rule #10 had me giggling out loud.

7:43 AM  
Anonymous susan (living lean) said...

OMG Erica - I haven't been to your blog in a looong time and I was delighted to see your pictures of McKenna. She is a living doll! What a cutie! Mind if I share her photos on LL later?...or you can pop in and say hi.

6:05 AM  

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