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Archive for January 25, 2013

RECIPE: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Add herbs to your mashed potatoes. Photo


It’s been way below freezing for days in our part of the country. That’s as good an excuse as any to have some primo comfort food—luscious mashed potatoes—with tonight’s grilled chicken.

Basic mashed potatoes with butter, salt and pepper become even more delicious with the addition of some herbs, fresh or dried. This recipe from adds garlic, rosemary and parsley. You can also use thyme, tarragon or sage.


Makes 8 (1/2-cup) servings. Prep Time: 15 minutes. Cook Time: 15 minutes.


  • 2 pounds russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (if you have the time, substitute a tablespoon of minced, sautéed garlic cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 cup milk (use half and half or light cream for more richness)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes or minced fresh parsley

    1. PLACE potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt in a medium saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil.

    2. REDUCE heat to low; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return potatoes to saucepan.

    3. SPRINKLE with garlic powder, rosemary and pepper. Mash with potato masher, gradually adding milk, then butter. Stir in parsley. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

    4. PULSE in food processor (optional) for extra-creamy mashed potatoes.

    Find more recipes at


    Check out our Potato Glossary. It also explains why different types of potatoes are used for baking, mashing and fries (starchy potatoes) and others for boiling and potato salad and (waxy potatoes).


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    VALENTINE CANDY: Gourmet Chocolate Love Bugs

    Valentine’s chocolate can mean more than heart-shaped pieces. One of our favorite chocolatiers, John & Kira’s, enables you to express your affection with a “Bee My Lovebug” collection.

    The exquisite-tasting, hand-painted love bugs (ladybugs) and bee chocolates will delight the most demanding chocophile.

  • Honey Caramel Bees are filed with exquisite salted caramel, with a touched of basswood honey from family-owned Draper’s Apiary (all of John & Kiras’s chocolates use ingredients from local family farms).
  • Love Bugs are filled with a silky ganache: fresh cream, fine chocolate and a touch of sugar.
    Both lovebugs and bees are made with Valrhona 64% cacao chocolate. They arrive beautifully packaged in a reusable red boutique box finished with an old-fashioned letter-pressed card.


    Give your loved one some chocolate love bugs for Valentine’s Day. Photo courtesy


    Treat your Valentine to:

  • A 9-piece box of lovebugs, $29.00.
  • A 15-piece box of the company’s award-winning ganache-filled bonbons, plus bees and lovebugs, $49.50.
  • A 16-piece Love Tower box includes the Ladybug Medley (with mint and raspberry, and honey-lavender ganaches) and a 9-piece Red Ladybug box, $69.50.
    Everything made by John & Kira’s is top-drawer delicious, beautifully crafted and a very special treat.



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    TIP OF THE DAY: Sistema Microwave Plastic Containers

    The soup gets hot, the bowl stays cool.
    Above: soup mug and noodle bowl. Photo by
    Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    We don’t have a huge amount of storage space, so we resist buying things that have single-purpose uses.

    In the kitchen, that restriction covers numerous gadgets and appliances. For example, we’d love a rice cooker to prepare healthy grains more easily; rice cookers can also be used to steam other foods. But we have more than one steaming solution already. So if we’re not going to use a rice cooker several times a week (as with the toaster, microwave, coffee maker and food processor), we can’t justify squeezing it in.

    Along the same lines, we resisted special plastic microwave dishes, opting to use our everyday dishes, which can be microwaved. But conventional plates and mugs can get overly hot-to-the-touch.

    One day, we were given a Sistema microwavable plastic mug at a trade show. We heated soup in it and—epiphany—the plastic remained cool to the touch while the soup got super hot. It was a solution worth making space for.


    We went on to purchase a Sistema noodle bowl and a covered plate to store and heat leftovers.

    Unlike ceramic, porcelain or other plastic containers—Tupperware or take-out containers—Sistema pieces, made of virgin polypropylene, do not get hot in the microwave.


    Sistema products are BPA free, microwave safe, freezer safe and dishwasher safe.

    The soup mug is $8.00 on Amazon; the noodle bowl is $8.49. The microwavable plate, $11.00, can double as a steamer.

    The products are available nationally; we just picked up a second mug at Bed, Bath & Beyond.


    Sistema Plastics makes “dedicated microwave cooking products to make life easier.” We concur!

    Designed and made in New Zealand, the line includes steamers that make it easy to steam meals, covered plates to store and reheat leftovers, the soup mug that is perfect for soup or hot drinks, and a larger noodle bowl for ramen, pasta, or in our case, matzoh ball soup.

    See the whole line at


    Spill-proof lids make the soup easily portable. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.



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