Thanksgiving and I have a tenuous relationship. On the one hand, what's not to love about a holiday centered around food? And about giving thanks. But really about food! On the other hand, Thanksgiving inevitably brings about this crazy spike in chaos and relatives, singing loudly off-key. Some years, it all feels a bit much.
There was the year we went out for Thanksgiving dinner (don't ask). It was a nice place with nary a paper napkin or golden arch in sight! But with Little Man only a few months old, I spent the entire meal in a freezing car, wedged between a frosty window and car seat, gnawing on a cold piece of turkey, attempting to soothe a screaming newborn while my family wined and dined inside. Minus the wine 'cause you know, Muslim and all. It was not a great Thanksgiving.
Then there was the Thanksgiving where we had TONS of extended family visit and every single one of them took a solemn oath to not wash a single dish the entire weekend! You know how many dirty dishes twenty people produce? It was enough to make me swear off of china for good.
But even in the crazy and god-awful Thanksgivings, there are really fantastic memories of warm pumpkin pie served a la mode, midnight games of charades, and babies wearing blazers. I love a man in a blazer but a baby in a blazer?!? Sweetness overload!
So I was kinda bummed when everyone in my family abandoned the holiday spirit and pulled a Scrooge on Thanksgiving this year. You'd think the Mr. Wilson in me would have loved it but I missed the flurry of emails about the menu, the mad dash to secure extra bedding for guests, and the crazy desire to secure the "best" turkey.
So I did what any sane person would do, I volunteered to make Thanksgiving dinner. Don't get me wrong, I'll have tons of helpers and a peanut gallery of tasters and critiquers, but yours truly, will be making the turkey, gravy, potatoes, stuffing, and quite possibly, some rolls and a triple berry galette. Wait, I didn't tell you I've never made a turkey before? Or that giant, raw birds weird me out? Needless to say, I'm panicking a bit about my initial bravado and enthusiasm.
So I've been doing what any sane person would do. Frantically testing delicious Thanksgiving side dishes to supplement the traditional mashed potatoes and stuffing and distract people from the fact that the turkey may very well be slightly raw (or burned to a crisp, one or the other). I figured I'd start with potatoes. They're more popular than turkey, right? Right, she said not-so-confidently. Introducing, the crispy tandoori smashed potato. Creamy baby potatoes, dripping with butter, infused with tandoori spices, and perfectly crispy around the edges. What's not to love?
Plus, it's the perfect recipe for getting your babies in the kitchen (and yes, Little Man will always be my baby, even when he's 16 and driving and going on dates and and and, quick, pass the potatoes so I can forget this will happen one day). It's pretty much impossible to mess these potatoes up. I mean, the entire point is to squish them in to the pan so you get jagged crevices, perfect for browning and holding spiced butter. In fact, we had a hard time convincing Little Man they were smashed enough and it was time to put them in the oven. Once they're done, it's hard to stop eating them directly from the pan. But it'll be Thanksgiving and all so I'll try to bring my holiday manners and not eat from the cooking dishes. Heck, I plan to serve these little babies on a fancy platter, with a side of creme fraiche speckled with cilantro and spiked with fresh lime juice. I'm sure no one will even look at the turkey.
Oh, and lest you think my plan for the deliciously distracting sides is crazy, I am making a practice turkey this weekend. Come on people, I'm an optimist, not an idiot.
3 tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground corriander
1/2 tsp. paprika
Salt and Pepper
Boil potatoes in salted water until cooked through but not falling apart (when you poke them with a fork, there should be no resistance). Drain. Grease a cookie sheet with oil. Line up the potatoes on a cookie sheet with 2-3 inches of room in between each potato. Smash the potato with a potato masher so the potato is flat and you have neat ridges in the top of the potato.
In a small microwave safe bowl, melt butter. Add spices and mix thoroughly. Brush potatoes with spiced, melted butter mixture. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden around the edges.
Inspired by Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes.