I learn something nearly every single time I work in the kitchen. Sometimes it is something new, like how to make a simple pastry crust or whip egg whites into fluffy oblivion. Sometimes it is something I relearn, like how lemon juice is a stinging reminder of the paper cut I forgot about.
This go around, I realized I do not own a serving bowl. Among the hundreds of assorted glasses, plates, bowls, utensils and all other kitcheny things resides not one serving bowl. I have crème brulee dishes for pete’s sake.
It was not so much the fact I do not own a serving bowl that got me, but that its lack of presence never even occurred to me. This of course sent me into a dissection of how I could miss such a thing, and I realized I either bring desserts or salads wherever I go. As such, my trusty melamine serving plates and salad bowls go with me. Couple that with the fact my place is too small to host a traditional dinner party, and there you have it. Four cake stands. Not one serving bowl.
As a result, you all get to look at two new bowls I purchased with the vision of holding ice cream in a couple of months. A bright lemon ice cream set against those blueberry dots was the first thing that came to mind. Mashed potatoes and cabbage were not even on the radar screen. But like most kitchen improvisations, this one turned out okay and taught me something along the way too.
One rare occasions, just for the sake of trying something new, I will actually purchase a one-ingredient wonder instead of finding a substitute I already have on hand. In this case, I bought a jar of wasabi powder to make the wasabi paste called for in this recipe. I simply added two teaspoons of water to one teaspoon of powder to make the paste, though less water would have been just fine too.
As for the taste in the final dish, all I could sense was the horseradish. The heat from the wasabi was minimal at best. In fact, if no one told me wasabi was in this recipe, I never would have guessed it. If you do not want to purchase wasabi powder, horseradish or hot mustard seem like reasonable substitutions. I would recommend adding at least one of them because – at least in the case of the wasabi – it really did add to the flavor.
I took this recipe from the What Katie Ate cookbook inspired by the blog of the same name. This cookbook has some of the most stunning food photographs I have ever seen. They were truly gorgeous. So much so that the recipes were little more than an afterthought the first time I looked through it.
Do yourself a favor and check it out from your local library or flip through its pages at your local book seller or buy it from wherever you choose. If this one recipe is any indication, both your eyes and your taste buds will thank you. Enjoy!
- For the Mash
- 6 large russet potatoes
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup whipping cram
- 3 tablespoons butter, plus additional for serving
- 1 teaspoon wasabi paste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ white or green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
- 5 scallions, thinly sliced
- For the Topping
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 handful (roughly one cup) white or green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 handful (roughly ⅓-1/2 cup) pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Peel the potatoes if desired and cut them in half.
- Place them in a pot filled with salted water and bring to a boil.
- Allow the potatoes to boil for 30 minutes or until a knife or fork is easily inserted into the centers.
- Drain the cooked potatoes before returning them to the pan.
- Use a potato masher or hand mixer to mash the potatoes until fairly smooth.
- Add the milk and continue to mix until the potatoes are quite smooth.
- Next beat in the whipping cream and the butter.
- Season with the wasabi paste and the salt and pepper to taste.
- Set aside over low heat while you prepare the cabbage and mash topping.
- Bring a second pot of salted water to a boil.
- Gently stir in the cabbage and allow to cook for 6-8 minutes until tender, yet still slightly crisp.
- Drain the cooked cabbage, then stir it into the potatoes along with the scallions.
- To prepare the topping, heat the oil or melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the cabbage, scallions, pine nuts and sesame seeds and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly crispy and toasted.
- To serve, warm the potatoes and top with the cabbage and pine nut mixture. Add butter and salt and pepper as desired.