Every year I run around like a CRAZY WOMAN on Christmas day trying to please everyone and make a fab dinner in the process. As a professional cook, all of the timing etc. isn't a problem, but all of the additional "help" in the kitchen almost always throws a monkey wrench into my plans. Groove be gone? Say it isn't so.
You see, I want the beef tenderloin to rest just the right amount of time so that I slice it to reveal perfect medium-rare juicy goodness, have the green bean casserole steaming (you can take the girl out of the country, but despite years of culinary school, professional cooking, AND owning my own instructional food joint, I still love me some of that nasty green bean casserole with the fired onion rings and the mushroom soup -- please don't think less of me :), the gravy, perrrrrfect Millhouse, and the potatoes creamy, soft, and hot, hot hot.
However, throw in my mom, my MIL (mother-in-law), various sisters-in-law, brothers, brothers-in-law, kids, and HUSBANDS trying to sneak a bite, try a taste, "help", and things get a little off track. Left to my own devices? No problem. This however, is interference on the play.
Anyway...a few years ago, my mom, Mrs. Q, gave me a little tip on the mashed potatoes that I have been loving, and it really couldn't be easier. Make the potatoes a few hours ahead (i.e. before everyone arrives) and keep them hot in the slow cooker. That's it! Seriously though, how easy is that? Now, don't go all crazy and make them the day before (though you can peel the potatoes and keep them in the fridge covered with lots of cold, salted water) because they can get gummy and nasty if you do that. Prepare them as you would, season and make them delicious, then right into the slow cooker. Top with a lid and voila!
One little note, and this applies to slow cookers in general, you don't need to add any extra liquid to accommodate the time spent in the cooker. Slow cookers actually generate a little bit of liquid through condensation when you don't remove the lid. That's a good thing. Side note: when cooking a meal in the slow cooker, you add roughly 30 minutes to the cooking time every time you lift the lid to get a good sniff, so don't do that.
Your potatoes will be done before company arrives, stay super hot, and be ready for you to put in some super fancy dish if you like. Our family goes rustic and serves those taters right from the Crock Pot,ba-by. Down-home Christmas my friends; there's nothing like it.
Tomorrow: Make an Easy, yet Delicious, gift to Share!