Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dilly Mashed Potatoes

Number One son gave me a cookbook for Christmas that is fast becoming one of my favourites. Malcolm is a great cook and he showed me the recipes he loves best - see all those post-it tabs along the top, those are his favourites.   All the recipes are organized by season using seasonally-available ingredients.  I love this!  

The fruit and vegetables used each season (starting with spring) in the Simply in Season cookbook

I remember as a child, we only ate fruit and vegetables that were available in season or could be stored, and fresh produce was supplemented with canned and frozen fruit and veggies.  In winter the fresh vegetables were carrots, cabbage, beets, potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, brussel sprouts, and onions.  Did I miss any?  Those are the ones I remember appearing regularly.  Now you can go into a grocery store at any time of the year and find almost anything your little heart desires - even perishable produce, like fresh blueberries or asparagus.  

Not that I want to go back to the restricted diet of yore, but it does make sense to, as much as possible, eat produce that is grown locally and harvested in that season.  It is definitely better for the environment not to transport food from half way around the world.  I'm also concerned about the amount of pesticides and use of contaminated water in some of countries so I am choosy about where I buy my fruit and veggies from. 

Buying locally and in season, also results in better quality food, both in terms of nutrients and flavour.  Also when you haven't had certain fruit or vegetable for the better part of a year, the turn of one season to the next is greeted with much enthusiasm.   Who isn't thrilled when strawberry and asparagus season finally comes round in the spring or when the first crunchy apples appear in the fall.

I'm happy to have a little more variety than back in the day, but I do try and limit my purchases of produce that have come from far away and I attempt to buy more locally-grown produce when possible.

Simply in Season helps you make the best of seasonal foods with a variety of tasty recipes.  The cookbook is put out by the Mennonite Central Committee, who also published the More-with-Less cookbook.  Mennonites are famous for their down home cooking style and this cookbook is no exception.

My son said the Dilly Mashed Potatoes (page 263) are their favourite way to make mashed potatoes now, so I had to give the recipe a try.  Fortunately I already had all the ingredients on hand and they were all storage vegetables (except the green onions in the original recipe, but I didn't use them).

Here is the recipe with my modifications:

5 large potatoes, peeled and diced
4 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated (optional)

1.  Boil the potatoes and carrots until soft.  Drain, and mash.
2.  Melt butter in a frying pan and cook the onions until they are translucent (about 10 minutes).  Add the dill in the last few minutes and continue to cook.
3.  Add the onions and dill to the mashed potatoes and carrots.
4.  Stir the sour cream/yogurt and salt and pepper into the mashed potatoes.  Mix well and transfer to a greased 2.5 L casserole dish.  Add grated cheese on top if desired.
5.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350F.  May be frozen before baking - to reheat from frozen, bake 1 hour covered, then 20 minutes uncovered.

I'm looking forward to trying some more recipes from this cookbook.  Focaccia (page 90) here I come!


  1. I've really made an effort the past couple of years to eat seasonally. Your recipe sounds great! Mashed potatoes: My favorite comfort food!!!

    Have a great week!


  2. I have that book. I should dig it out. Potatoes are a great winter way to enjoy the garden.

  3. What an awesome and personal gift. Clearly he put a great deal of thought into it! I don't make mashed potatoes much anymore but this recipe looks like it definitely is worth a try. We are buried under more snow with another front coming through in a few days. I am getting just a little tired of it! Hope all is well up north. ~Ann