Punchy Potatoes ‘n’ Robust Greens

Cheesy, Vegan, Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Cheesy, Vegan, Garlic Mashed Potatoes

With an evening holiday party in queue, I needed to sate my appetite with nutrient-rich, vegetable-based eats…lest I approach the star-shaped Christmas cookies festooned with sprinkles and frosting with an empty belly.

Two competing impulses were at play—-my reason drove me toward health, the rainy day drove me toward comfort-food. The compromise? A sometimes-ok, comfort-food standby: the potato. Oft-underrated, potatoes are in fact chock-full of good-for-you shit. Think vitamin-C, vitamin-B6, and anti-cancer phyto-nutrients.

San Franciscans have it easy, with mindful food-sourcing at our fingertips, from every-day-of-the-week farmer’s markets to above-and-beyond-ethical independent grocers. I sourced these sustainably-grown, organic, local potatoes from my neighborhood worker-owned food cooperative, Rainbow Grocery.

Whadda Dish!
Whadda Dish!

The magic of the tasty tuber is that, once harvested, it can be stored year-round as a food source, so that even in ice-prone climes like Idaho or Illinois, you can nonetheless enjoy the locally-grown sustenance of this rough-‘n’-rowdy root vegetable.

The same can be said for onions. I chopped mine, throwing them in a cast-iron skillet and letting them sizzle in an inch of boiling water, along with paper-thin potato slices. The finer the cut, the faster the cooking. Potato and onion release starches that serves as the saucy base for a nutritional yeast, which is full of B-complex vitamins and protein. This fine, yellow powder is a vital staple in any veg kitchen. It provides a splendid, (sort-of) cheesy kick to any meal, and is especially delicious when balanced with four cloves of minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

It was then that I spied my new, super-cute roommate’s hand-held mixer-beaters. Intriguing. Having used this appliance only a few times in my life–I don’t really bake and only rarely use a food processor–it seemed exciting to give it a go: cheesy, garlic mashed-potatoes.

My hungry man declared them brilliant and, coupled with fresh green-beans and Brussels sprouts sauteed in a thimbleful of sesame seed oil, I felt fully empowered by the novelty of using what is to most people a run-of-the-mill kitchen appliance. A relief–I made it to the holiday party without being hungry, eating only two cookies instead of ten.

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