Last week I wondered what it would take for me to get my mind off food, to give myself a little respite, enjoy a seasonal movie or something, anything, unrelated to food. The answer came quickly, in the form of a nasty foodborne illness that wiped out my dad, stepmom and I in quick succession. In the thick of it all, under the surreal weight of a high fever and wracked with nausea, I tried to read an article in the NYT about sweet potatoes. I couldn’t. I got up for a weak cup of tea and was sent running by the smell of chicken soup. It was, thankfully, brief. And it got my mind off food.
When I recovered enough to eat, I only had an appetite for the most boring of consumables. And so I turned to this, which is a favorite go-to when feeling sick. It’s a great tug-o-war between comfort food and health food, which is my arena, it seems. I’ve omitted the heavy cream, replaced that with yogurt and soy milk (any kind of milk will work, but may I kindly advise you to shy away from dairy when sick? ); in lieu of all that lovely, nutrientless flavor, I add onion, garlic and herbs, so that you don’t know you’re missing anything at all, and top it with some spinach or kale to fortify it that extra bit. If your stomach is weak, though, as mine was, you may want to forgo the garlic and herbs altogether. If you’re trying to shake a cold, however, I’d recommend adding even more garlic. It’s good for the immune system. Onion too.
Of course, you don’t have to be sick to eat this. It’s a cinch to make, and it’s a forgiving recipe, and is good any old night, alongside a nice roast, or even as an accompaniment to soup. Pair it with a fried egg and you’ve got a cozy weeknight dinner or perfect weekend breakfast.
GREEN MASHED POTATOES
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 pound potatoes of choice
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces baby spinach, rinsed
1/4 unsweetened soy milk (or regular milk)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt + pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for potatoes. When boiling, add whole, unpeeled potatoes and cook until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes thoroughly and set aside. In the same pot, warm the teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. When ready, add onions and saute until translucent, about five minutes. During the last minute, add garlic and stir to prevent burning. Turn off heat. Add potatoes, milk of choice, yogurt and butter and mash thoroughly. Add the spinach, herbs and lots of salt and pepper. Turn the heat on again to very low. You’ll want to warm it just enough to wilt the spinach. Stir frequently to prevent burning and facilitate wilting. When the spinach is ready, turn off heat again and serve.