better mashed potatoes

Is there anyone else out there who can not believe that Thanksgiving is in mere days? I still sort of can’t believe it. I’ve managed to move past my shock and this week I’ve got a few Thanksgiving recipes for you all – they are traditional sides with little twists.

I hope I don’t upset anyone by saying this, but I’ve never been a huge fan of mashed potatoes. They are all right, but I’d much rather my potatoes fried in duck fat. :) And even though I’m not really a fan – we thought that having a mashed potato bar at our wedding would be super fun! There were a few varieties of mashed potatoes, with toppings like pancetta, lobster and creme fraiche, which make mashed potatoes sound so much better – I heard it was good!

My husband on the other hand loves potatoes of any kind (he’s a real Midwestern boy) and I love him so I tried to figure out a way to compromise. I hear that is what marriage is all about. ;)

So I proceeded to think about the things that I love (selfishly) and if they could possibly pair with mashed potatoes. Coconut milk and curry; wasabi and bok choy; neither of which seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving, especially since I realize there are a lot of Thanksgiving purists out there.

And then I thought about my beloved cured pork and cheese. And I thought that garlic mashed potatoes topped with crispy proscuitto and parmesan cheese would make everyone happy.

They did.

Better Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1.5 pounds baby red potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp half & half
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 oz proscuitto
  • 4 oz parmesan


  1. Place potatoes and garlic cloves in large pot.
  2. Cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil and lower, cooking for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes .
  4. Remove from heat and put in mixing bowl.
  5. Add butter, half & half and whip or mash to desired consistency.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  7. Place proscuitto in hot pan and heat, flipping occasionally until crisp.
  8. Shred parmesan over hot mashed potatoes and crumble proscuitto over top.
  9. Serve hot.
  10. *Mashed potatoes can be made ahead of time, just re-heat and top with proscuitto and cheese.

tijuana dogs

Every spring I get these bizarre cravings for hot dogs. I’m not sure if it is the constant grilling fumes, wafting into our apartment or the constant Brewers that grace our computers during the summer. (I swear the Brewers play 7 games a week.) Baseball = hot dogs, right?

I say bizarre because hot dogs just really aren’t my thing. But for some reason I’ve got to have at least one a year. I won’t settle for a plain hot dog though – last year we topped our dogs with peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, etc but this year I opted for something a little different. The ever-popular Tijuana Dog. Tijuana Dogs are typically wrapped in bacon and then topped with a variety of toppings, similar to what you would see on a taco. I know that bacon-wrapped hot dogs sounds ridiculously un-healthy but in reality, the bacon adds 35 calories. I can handle that. :)

I even went so far as to make my own buns. They didn’t turn out (operator error of the mixer, no fault to the recipe) so I ate mine sans bun, but to be honest, I’m not a huge bun fan so I was happy with dog + toppings.

I loved this twist on hot dogs – I might even have to fit them into the menu again this summer.

Tijuana Dogs - 4 servings – inspired by Serious Eats

  • 4 hot dogs (kosher or grass-fed beef are best in my mind)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 hot dog buns (I made my own from Annie’s Eats recipe)
  • toppings: caramelized onions, tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, queso fresca

Wrap hot dogs with bacon on the diagonal, overlapping if necessary.

Grill until bacon is cooked through.

Prepare toppings and top as desired!

daily eats: 5.28.11

I have to admit, I kind of love doing the daily eats posts from time to time – I hope you do too!

Weekends are often quite different in terms of eating for me…no 6am yoga (thankfully!), breakfasts at home, hopefully made by the Taster and perhaps one my favorite things? Coffee out of a real mug! It’s the little things. Sometimes it is mainly snacking, sometimes it is a few larger meals throughout the day.

Saturday May 28th:

Morning workout: 45 minute spin class – 1st time I’ve done spin in a while – love spin!

Followed by lots of water and some coffee + coconut creamer. :)

Breakfast #1: overnight smoothie ala Michelle from A Lively Kitchen

Ingredients: 1 small banana, 2 Tbsp oats, 1 Tbsp PB Flour, 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds, 1 cup Almond Milk  – soaked overnight and blended the next day with a little extra almond milk + cocoa nibs. *I probably drank about 1/3 of this – bananas don’t always sit well with me!

A trip to the Mill City Farmers Market was definitely in order this weekend (first time of the season) and food was definitely at the top of our minds.

Breakfast #2: Meat Momo (Tibetan dumpling) – shared with the Taster and so delicious. I can’t wait to order from Gorkha Palace – it is an Indian/Tibetan Restaurant in our neighborhood and have always wanted to try it!

After some wandering we made an amazing purchase – an herb planter containing cilantro, basil, parsley, sage, rosemary and marjoram – let’s just hope this stays alive longer than my previous gardening experiences.


Instead of waiting in the crazy Chef Shack line, we decided to grab a bite at Spoonriver which ended up being rather average and pretty disappointing. Our last trip to Spoonriver was great, but I think we could have done a better job ordering this trip.

Lunch: I had the Greens Salad: Sunflower Sprouts, Pumpkin Seeds, Fig Vinaigrette. Which I actually enjoyed, the fig vinaigrette was very different.

The Taster ordered the Spoon Burger: Minnesota Farm Lamb, House Ketchup, Corn Chips. He was a little disappointed – there was also quinoa in it (hehe) which he didn’t really think was that great.  I thought it could have used a little something but the house ketchup was delicious. It was just a little blah and I think we both expected a little more since it was almost $15. Lesson learned.

After an afternoon of website work (like the new look?), camp work and a pedicure, I came home just in time for cocktail hour. Which in our house means a drink and a snack, most likely involving cheese and crackers. :)

Cocktail Hour: wine + crackers + smoked gouda spread (from whole foods)

Dinner: Tijuana Dogs and coleslaw (1 +1/2 dogs) – more to come on those. :)

Weekends can mean more snacking and less vegetables but in my mind, it’s all about balance. And that’s one thing I’m pretty good at. :)

bacon & onion tart

I’ve always loved a good tart. (Thankfully my photography/blogging skills have improved a bit from the last one too!)

Using puff pastry makes things so easy – in addition to tasty – and when it’s topped with caramelized onions and bacon? Well, I’d say it’s about perfection. You’ve got a buttery, flaky crust, sweet onions, salty bacon and a touch of cheese for good measure.

The toppings can be made ahead which I find ideal, especially if you’re eating it after a wine tasting. ;) I can assure you though, that it will taste great with or without wine. ;)

Bacon & Onion Tart 2-3 main servings, 6 appetizer portions – inspired by Bon Appétit

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 4 slices bacon (I used duck bacon because it is what we had, but regular bacon would be just as lovely)
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

Remove puff pastry and let thaw for about 40 minutes. (Do not microwave to try to speed this process, I’ve tried – it doesn’t work!)

Cook bacon in large pan until crisp. Remove bacon and reserve about 1 Tbsp bacon drippings in pan for onions. When cool, slice bacon into pieces.

Cut onions into 1/4″ slices. Add onions to hot pan and let cook down, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Add wine to pan and let all liquid evaporate, stirring occasionally for another 15-20 minutes, until onions are golden brown and caramelized.

Pre-heat oven to 375° F.

Spread pastry on lightly floured baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with pepper.

Layer onions, Parmesan and bacon over pastry.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until crust is golden brown.