Wash the potatoes well; take off only a thin paring, and drop them at once into cold water to prevent their discoloring. Have them of uniform size, or cut the larger ones into pieces the size of the small ones, so they will all be cooked at the same time, for after a potato is cooked it rapidly absorbs water and becomes soggy. If the potatoes are old or withered, put them on to cook in cold water; if fresh and firm, put them into boiling salted water, and boil slowly about thirty minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Then at once drain off every drop of water; shake them in the pot a moment to expose all sides to the air; sprinkle with a little salt; cover the pot with a double cloth, and place it on the back of the range for a few minutes to evaporate all the moisture. If treated in this way the potatoes will be dry and mealy.
Violent boiling is likely to break the outside surface and make them ragged in appearance.
New potatoes are boiled with the skins on.
After the potatoes are boiled and dried as directed above, mash them at once over the fire and in the same pot in which they were boiled, so that they will lose no heat. Season them with salt, butter, and cream or milk; heat the milk and butter together; add them slowly, and beat the potatoes well with a fork or an egg-beater until they are very light and white. Turn them into a hot dish. Do not smooth the top.
Mashed potato left over may be used for cakes. Add an egg to a cupful and a half of potato and beat them well together until light; form it into cakes or balls; roll them in flour and saute in butter, or spread the mixture in a layer one inch thick; cut it into strips or squares and saute; or put it into a well-buttered border mold; cover with greased paper, and bake for half an hour in a moderate oven. Let it stand in the mold for ten minutes; then turn onto a dish, and fill the center with any mince or with creamed fish. Mashed potato without egg will not hold its form when molded.
Press well-seasoned mashed potatoes through a colander or a potato press onto the center of a dish, leaving the little flakes lightly piled up. Serve chops or minced meat around the mound of potato.
To two cupfuls of smooth, well-seasoned, and quite moist mashed potatoes add the yolks of two eggs. When a little cooled stir in lightly the whites of two eggs beaten very stiff. Put the whole into a pudding-dish, and brown it in a quick oven.
To two cupfuls of well-seasoned mashed potatoes, add the yolks of two eggs and white of one, and beat them well together. Place it in a pastry bag with a tube having a star-shaped opening (see illustration), and press it through. As the potato comes from the tube, guide it in a circle, winding it around until it comes to a point. The little piles of potato will resemble roses. Touch them lightly with a brush dipped in egg, and place a bit of butter on each one. Put them in the oven a moment to brown slightly. The edges touched by the egg will take a deeper color. Potato roses make a good garnish for meat dishes.
POTATO ROSES. (SEE PAGE 202).