Monday, March 25, 2013

Purple Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, Easter Colors and the Pocono Mountain House DInner

The Pocono mountains are beautiful in the early spring when the weather warms and kisses the trees with bright green buds of spring. And the world slowly wakes from it's winter slumber and life feels lighter and more alive. This is the season of Easter and as Easter is a celebration of the rising from death to life again so the Spring reminds us as a metaphor for the message of Easter that renewal brings fresh things to life and that new opportunity awaits us.

Several years back my very talented and dear friend Tony Parise bought a home in the Poconos and we would go up to visit it and spend long wonderful weekends cooking, eating, drinking, talking, telling stories, and generally having a relaxed wonderful time. Both of us were at a place in our individual lives where a little renewal was in order. And wonderful dinners and cocktails on the long summer evenings, seated al fresco on the deck beneath a blanket of twinkle lights and candles, seemed to be some of the best therapy we could have asked for.

I have great memories of those weekends. Long talks and long walks through the woods and around the lake. Trips to Bushkill falls, antique shops and outlet shopping. We would always cook up delicious meals and we even celebrated several holidays there as well. One such holiday meals I remember was an Easter dinner that was as colorful as it was delicious. Tony was quite the food stylist and meals with him had to look as good as they tasted. So it was with this easter dinner.

On the menu were amongst other things a roasted ham, purple mashed potatoes, buttered carrot coins , spring peas, onions and sauteed lettuces, and a yellow squash casserole. The ham was an incredible thing but it was the side dishes with all the colors of easter right on the table that took the spotlight. Each of these dishes were really easy to prepare and came together for our easter meal.

Now as I have stated before I LOVE mashed potatoes! They are simply some of the best things you could put in your mouth. I had never seen blue or purple potatoes before I lived in NYC. I understand you can get them many places now but they instantly became fascinating to me. I loved the color and the nutty flavors. Very interesting indeed. This recipe could not be easier. It's a bit of a play on potato salad but come out delish when made this way. I simple mash the potatoes with butter, blend in some milk and some white potato instant flakes to lighten the color and give them more depth of flavor. Then I add Parmesan cheese which pairs well with the nutty flavor of the potatoes and a bit of mayonaise to give them that extra silken touch and luscious mouth feel. Chopped chives add color and a slight oniony backdrop. All in all delish! If you want a different potato dish for your dinner this is the one to try! Goes well with Ham or the Bird or the Beef or the Lamb. So you can't lose! Enjoy Ya'll!

Purple Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
serves 4

2 to 3  lbs purple or Peruvian Potatoes
1/2 cup potato flakes instant
1 cup warm milk
4 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons mayo
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 small bunch chives finely chopped

Skin and Slice potatoes into pieces
Boil in a large pot of water about 20 to 30 mins until fork tender, drain well reserve warm
Next add flakes to potaotes and add butter and milk mash together and stir till well combined adding water if the flakes need more liquid till smooth and creamy
Add cheese and mayo and stir should tighten up but if too loose add more flakes if to tight add water.
Add chives and stir reserving a few for garnish
Place in a serving bowl and serve right away while hot or reserve and reheat.
Garnish with chives and serve enjoy!

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