On the surface of things, Smashed Potatoes and Decadent Hot Chocolate don’t seem to have much in common. But if you delve a little deeper, you’ll find the connection.
Both mashed potatoes and hot chocolate can be made via the instant, just-add-water type. Which isn’t bad if, say, you’re camping. They can both be quite tasty, depending.
But when made from scratch, when you put the time in, so to speak, you come out with something indescribably delicious. A crispy, buttery-fluffy potato, and a rich, dark chocolate drink that is akin to what they must serve in Heaven. (Or at least in some nifty Paris bistros!)
If you need a side dish that is a step above ordinary, this is it. Hearty, filling, and a taste
Yukon Gold Potatoes
treat, it all starts, of course, with the potato itself. I use fresh, hard, baby yellow potatoes, or baby reds if I’m in that mood. They both work. Slightly bigger than the baby potatoes work as well; you just need to cut them a bit smaller. I’ve never used russets or baking potatoes for this; I assume if you peel them and chop them into similar-sized chunks, they’d work fine.
Ingredients: Baby potatoes, butter, sea salt (or Kosher salt)
Kitchen ware needed: One sauce pan, one baking pan with sides (either a jelly roll pan or a 9 x 13 pan), and one slightly smaller pan of the same type (or a cast iron skillet).
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Scrub the potatoes well. If they are true babies, cut them in half. If they’re a little bigger, cut them in quarters. Your goal is to get them all about the same size so they cook evenly. Put them in the saucepan, fill with water, and boil until they are fork-tender about 10 – 15 minutes. Drain.
Put potatoes, still steaming, into the jelly roll pan. Crowd them together in the center of the pan, as much as possible, so they’re all touching. Take your slightly smaller pan (or your cast iron pan – anything heavy that you can put your hands into) and make sure the bottom of the pan is clean – you might even want to lightly spray it with cooking spray. Set the second pan on top of the first pan (I put the pan with the potatoes on the floor) and, with all your weight, press down on the second pan so it “smashes” the potatoes to about half to 3/4 of an inch thick. Spread butter on top of the potatoes; sprinkle with sea salt or Kosher salt. Put in oven for 20-25 minutes. If your potatoes are done before the rest of the meal is done, just turn off the oven and keep the door closed. The potatoes will crisp more while you finish up.
Is this calorie-free? No. More butter makes it taste better. But it’s a fabulous side dish that you can wow your friends with. To make it fancier, sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley on top. Serve directly from the oven to your guest’s plates. They will thank you for it.
thanks to dancingbranflakes.blogspot.com for the photo!
Decadent Hot Chocolate
Perfect for the Holidays, or any day where it’s chilly outside, the powdered stuff will get you by. It’ll do in a pinch. But when you want to see how it feels to be Royalty, have your kitchen slave whip you up some of this bundle of delicious goodness, and you’ll feel your holiday stress melt away.
Ingredients: 1 cup high quality 60% cacao chocolate (I use Ghiradelli – but regular choc chips are fine) 4 cups milk, 3 Tlb powdered baking cocoa, 3 Tlb white sugar, 1 cup heavy whipping cream.
Put chocolate in a pan, and add just enough milk from your 4 cups to float the chips a bit. Heat until chocolate is melted through, stirring the entire time. Once melted, add the rest of the milk a little at a time, keeping the heat on medium (don’t boil!). Then add the powdered cocoa, one Tlb at a time, whisking it in. Do the same with the white sugar. Once that is incorporated, slowly add the 1 cup heavy whipping cream, stirring the entire time. Continue to stir until the chocolate is hot again. Then drink and be glad you are human!
This goes beyond mere hot chocolate. This will put you into Holiday Nirvana. Turn the Christmas lights on, put the carols on, and get the wrapping paper out – no chore is too much to handle when you’ve got a cup of Decadent Hot Chocolate by your side!
Again, not calorie-free. But sometimes, during the crazed holiday season, we need to treat ourselves. It is seriously rich – maybe start with a small espresso-sized cup. It also is a fabulous addition to coffee – say, half chocolate and half coffee. It also goes really well with cinnamon cookies that my hubby made – pure heaven! (But that’s another post!)
I hope you enjoy. To see the original post, and how we came to steal this recipe, please hop here…
Coming up: This Friday, I talk about affordable wines. More reds – three really good ones, and a chameleon wine…see you then!
Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook, as well as in paperback! It makes a great Christmas present, lol!
In the spirit of Holiday, and Freedoms, and all around extreme coolness, I’m passing on some blogs – or books – that I’ve found to be amazing, wonderful, interesting, or just very, very cool.
First up is Ais Portraits and her terrific post about food styling. This young woman is a terrific photographer, and I’ve just today found her. Trust me when I say I’ll be following her development!
Ais’s mom is Lorna Tedder, and her blog is The Spiritual Eclectic. An all around great place to hang. Lorna is good peeps and seeing her change and grow has been an amazing journey this past few years – plus I learn a lot!
I have to give a shout out to my very dear friend, Lynne Marshall. Her single title, ONE FOR THE ROAD, is out now from Wild Rose Press and it’s definitely a book full of heart. Lynne is a writer who knows how to dig into your emotions and keep you hooked, right from the beginning. You can find her book here.
For knowledge and fun, give Catie Rhodes a try. She’s a writer who blogs about – well, a lot. Today, she’s blogging about high treason, and how everyone who signed the Declaration of Independence could have been drawn and quartered (and I don’t mean have a portrait made and given a place to sleep), plus a lot worse. She gives good history – it’s another place where I always learn something.
For writers looking for mentors, check out Kristen Lamb’s blog. She’s the #1 social media guru for writers, in my opinion. Plus, she’s downright funny and fun to hang with. She teaches online classes, too – so if you can grab one of those, do!
Another terrific writing mentor is Bob Mayer. I’ve taken his Warrior Writer class twice now, both times in person, and done all the exercises in his book at least twice. He’s dedicated, funny, and prolific. He’s got his finger on the indie press pulse, and I’ve learned a lot from him. Because of an idea he gave me in one of his workshops, I sold my first book. So I’m also forever indebted to him!
And last but not least, for this week anyway, is a wine blog by Joe Roberts called 1 Wine Dude. He’s a “certified” wine specialist, but he’s straight forward, funny, and not at all pretentious. I’m actually gonna find him on Twitter and follow, as he does reviews there. He tastes tons of wines of all price ranges and is witty about his reviews but not obscure.
So there you have it, some of my favorite online places to hang. Coming soon is a blog on pink wines – why, oh why couldn’t they have just kept calling them Rose? (Pretend there’s an accent on the “e” for me, okay?!)
In the meantime, have a safe and happy Fourth of July. Love from my house to yours!
~ ~ ~
Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? You can find it at Crescent Moon Pressor Amazon.com. Happy Reading!
Hi y’all! This is Day One of Crescent Moon Press’ Memorial Day Blog Hop! You can find the entire itinerary at CMP of course. Here are the details: Following this section I’ll be putting up the blurb and a brief excerpt of DEMON SOUL. At the end, I’ll ask you a question. In order to qualify for the GRAND PRIZE, you need to EMAIL me with the answer (PLEASE do not put it into comments!) at Christineash@sbcglobal.net. Of course, I’d LOVE it if you would subscribe to my RSS feed, too!
Then hop along the rest of today’s trail, and Wednesday and Thursday. You have until the end of the day May 26th to submit all your answers to the quests for the grand prize of a KINDLE or a NOOK, plus a dozen Crescent Moon Press titles!
From all the correct answers on MY blog, I’ll be giving away a relaxing bath basket filled with a bath pillow, fabulous bath salts, a scented candle, and of course a copy of DEMON SOUL. So…here we go!
DEMON SOUL BLURB:
…to retrieve his soul, she’ll become fire…
Gabriel Caine stands on the edge of the abyss. A bitch vampire has taken his soul and if he doesn’t get it back soon, his next step will be into Hell.
Rose Walters has been sent back to complete one task; save Gabriel Caine. She’s drawn to Gabriel on the most basic level, but restoring his soul may be at the price of her life.
Rose has touched the whole of Gabriel, making him yearn for a love he believes he can never have. Her willingness to put her human life on the line for him forces him to bring all three parts of himself into harmony – demon, human, and Fae bloodlines, and the strengths of each – to the fight that decides their fate.
A sound came out of Rose then, a half-whimper. “It hurts. Gabriel, it hurts.”
“What hurts?” He turned to her, shocked to see three claw marks deep on her left shoulder, ripping her tee shirt and reaching to her elbow. Blood dripped from her arm down onto the grass. “Damn it. Let’s get inside, I’ll fix you up.”
“What? Oh, my shoulder.” She winced. “Yeah. But that’s not what hurts.” Rose put her right hand just above her hipbone. “There. It hurts there.”
Frowning, Gabriel knelt in front of her and gently lifted her hand away. He tugged at her damp black tee shirt, bared the pale skin of her flat belly. A spiral of runes rippled and moved there, a mesmerizing magical dance. Made of colored ink, and yet not ink…a tattoo, but no human hands had a part in its creation. Gabriel narrowed his eyes. If he looked closely, he could see flickers of flame and a familiar pair of eyes sliding through the runes, not quite daring to meet his gaze.
A shudder of recognition went through him as his fear came true.
The demon scent, the fire, the runes. Mephisto.
The last time all three had been in front of him, he’d killed Marianne, the girl he’d loved, while trying to kill the demon Mephisto. Ten long years ago.
Now here he was, full circle, back home with as much bad hanging around him as the last time. Mephisto was back, loaning Rose his powers. Satine was somewhere near, coming to kick his ass. And Rose, the sexy little redhead in front of him, not only carried Mephisto, but she also held part of his soul.
Gabriel had always suspected Los Angeles would be the death of him. He just hadn’t expected it to be quite so soon.
* * * Your QUEST will be at the end of this posting!
Today’s participants are as follows:
JEAN MURRAY at http://www.wickedromance.wordpress.com
LARA NANCE at http://www.laranance.com
ME!!! and then
TRACI BELL at http://tracibell.net
and Tracy Farrell at http://tracyfarrell.com
Stop off at Crescent Moon Press for the rest of the information!
Your Quest: What is on Rose’s belly? Please EMAIL me your answer at Christineash@sbcglobal.net !
Now head on over to TRACI BELL at http://tracibell.net for the next stop!