I saved my plants yesterday.
From a certain watery demise.
Just between you and me, it could just be putting off the inevitable.
But I’m not telling my plants that.
You see, it’s been raining a lot here in the Seattle area. And when I say a lot, I mean The-Second-Coming-of-The-Ark a lot.
Even our apartment complex’s Lawn People couldn’t handle it. They came wielding leaf blowers like they do and left a half an hour later defeated. Even I felt for them.
Now, it needs to be said that what’s been left of my apartment balcony garden has been pretty sad-looking for a while now. But much like the Energizer Bunny that keeps going and going and going, amazingly, so have most of my little plants.
They have survived many a crazy wind out there, the occasional drought (i.e. me forgetting to water them) and have yet continued to grow despite the cramped conditions and dropping temperatures.
But yesterday … yesterday morning, things looked a lot different. Things looked, well, like this:
(Minus the shower curtain)
My visions for a grape-growing harvest one day all but bit the dust in that moment, with my Frontenac grapevine looking like it barely managed to make it out of the house that morning with only a bra on.
Only my thyme and rosemary plants looked shockingly good, despite the fact that they could have easily gotten their lifeguard certification from swimming in trays-full of water for weeks now.
Meanwhile, the rain keeps on coming down by the elephant-loads.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
So instead of railing my fists at the injurious gods, which wouldn’t have done a bit of good, I did something better. I dragged my plants as far away from the edge of the balcony as I could, then went back inside and made us all these mashed potatoes.
Full of peppery arugula and lots of savory, smoky bacon, they make even awesome ordinary mashed potatoes seem, well, kind of ordinary.
Like the very best mashed potatoes you’ve ever had times three, it’s a creamy, comforting bowl of heaven with just enough wow factor to make you actually almost look forward to wrapping yourself up in a cozy blanket with a bowl to watch the rain fall outside.
So I say, bring it on rain, do your stuff. But if you wouldn’t mind giving the boys on the balcony a break, we all sure would appreciate it.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Bacon-Arugula Mashed Potatoes
Inspired by Midwest Living
Makes 4 servings
3-4 slices Best-Ever Bacon, crumbled
8-9 medium organic gold potatoes, skin-on and cut into quarters
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, room temperature
1/3 cup half and half, warmed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fresh arugula, lightly packed
Fresh chives, for serving
Prepare Best-Ever Bacon and set aside.
In the meantime — while bacon is cooking — fill large stockpot half-way with water. Add a few tablespoons of salt and bring to boil.
Add potatoes, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well and return potatoes back to stock pot.
Mash potatoes — with a potato masher or fork — until just a few lumps remain.
Next, add cream cheese, butter, mayonnaise, half and half, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper and — with a fork or wooden spoon — fold mixture gently until all ingredients are well combined.
Tip: Be gentle with your mashing/folding, otherwise potatoes will turn out gummy. Also, if mashed potatoes are too thick for your liking, add more warmed half and half — a tablespoon at a time — folding gently each time until mixture reaches desired consistency.
Fold in arugula and let sit for 5 minutes or until slightly wilted.
Serve immediately with crumbled bacon and lots of snipped chives on top.
- Easy, “Perfect” Mashed Potatoes (putneyfarm.com)
- Unique Mashed Potato Recipes (livingrichwithcoupons.com)
- The Best (Cheesy!) Mashed Potatoes You’ll Ever Have (joannagoddard.blogspot.com)